Future of Norfolk communities on display

David BaleControversial plans outlining how many new homes could be built and what the future could look like in Wymondham and Hethersett went on show for the first time today.David Bale

Controversial plans outlining how many new homes could be built and what the future could look like in Wymondham and Hethersett went on show for the first time today.

Three thousand new homes are proposed for north-east Wymondham as part of a major development that would create 2,500 jobs, and include two new primary schools together with a dedicated sixth form college and pre-schools, whilst 1,000 to 4,000 new homes are planned in Hethersett.

In Wymondham councillors have already pledged to fight the greenfield development put forward by London-based planning consultant Barton Willmore, which pre-empts the final approval of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership Joint Core Strategy, which has earmarked 2,200 homes for Wymondham by 2026.

Among those visiting the public exhibition in Wymondham were Ken and Pamela Baker, from Downham Crescent in the town.

Mr Baker said: 'We're not happy. Our immediate reaction is why build homes on lovely countryside. We feel this development could swamp the whole town and take all its character away.'

Martin Wynne, chairman of South Norfolk Council's planning committee, who also attended, said: 'We accept that Wymondham has to grow, but these proposals alone would see a 50pc increase in the number of homes in the town.'

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However, Lee Newlyn, partner at Barton Willmore, said an increased population would regenerate the town centre.

He added: 'The government has said Wymondham needs these homes, and we think it's a good location for it. You cannot put 33,000 new homes in the Norwich area without changing some of the character within that area.'

Meanwhile, people in Hethersett are being urged to participate in a masterplan for the village by planning experts Ptarmigan Land and specialist architects John Thompson and Partners (JTP) with feedback to be reported back to the community on Tuesday, March 23.

Jacky Sutton, from Childs Road, Hethersett, attended the event, and said: 'I'm totally opposed to it. If we carry on like this, there will soon be a sign as you enter Hethersett saying 'Welcome to Norwich'.'

Clive Dopson, from Lynch Green, Hethersett, was more philosophical and said he wanted to be engaged in the debates, in order to influence the final outcome.

Charles Campion, from John Thompson and Partners, said: 'Before we start thinking about how development could be accommodated in Hethersett, we want to involve the community and get their ideas on the problems and opportunities for the village.'

The public exhibition continues at the Fairland Church Centre, Fairland Hill, Wymondham, between 10am and 4pm tomorrow.

The 'Vision for Hethersett Community Planning Weekend' continues from 10.30am-3.30pm tomorrow at Hethersett Village Hall.