Norfolk's 'Roman village' could double in size under housing plans

Early plans for Caistor St Edmund development, including country park, 180 homes and primary school

Early plans for Caistor St Edmund development, including country park, 180 homes and primary school - Credit: Lanpro

A new country park could be built on the outskirts of Norwich, as part of a 180-home housing scheme that would almost double the size of a village.

Around 91 acres of Caistor St Edmund, which was once the site of a Roman settlement, could be developed under proposals submitted to South Norfolk Council.

The plans include 180 homes, a 420 place primary school, a village hall and play facilities, including an FA standard football pitch. The scheme also features a new 60.5 acre Caistor Country Park, around the size of 34 football pitches, which would run alongside the Boudicca Way footpath.

Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed on the left behind the ex

Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed on the left behind the existing houses. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The park is around 4.5 times smaller than Whitlingham Country Park, which is 280 acres.

Caistor contains the remains of the Roman market town of Venta Icenorum, although the proposed development is at the opposite end of the village to the ruins, on land north of Caistor Lane close to Framingham Earl and Arminghall.

The scheme is outlined in a 'screening option',  which are used by developers before submitting a planning application to ask the council whether development should be subject to an environmental impact assessment.

Lanpro, which submitted the request on behalf of Glavenhill Ltd, said the site was promoted as "a highly sustainable mixed-use development" in the local plan. 

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In its submission, Lanpro said: "The new country park was further promoted as an attractive recreation and leisure destination that was a realistic alternative to visiting the Broads," adding, "SNC has a serious deficiency of publicly accessible natural and seminatural public open spaces which is having a harmful effect on the environment".

The land behind Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed. Picture:

The land behind Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Lanpro's representative added that the infrastructure, including country park, would be delivered "without cost to the public purse" through selling the houses.

Ben Burgess, speaking on behalf of Lanpro, said they hoped to submit a planning application early in the new year.

He added: "We are looking to deliver housing and the appropriate infrastructure with it - that's the primary school, which there is a proven need for in the areas, but also the country park.

"There is a district-wide shortfall for green infrastructure and it will offer a real benefit to the wider Greater Norwich area."

The land behind Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed. Picture:

The land behind Caistor Lane in Caistor St Edmund where a new devlopment has been proposed. - Credit: Danielle Booden

However, Natural England and Historic England have raised concerns in their responses to the screening opinion.

Dr James Albone from Historic England said there was potential for buried archaeological remains to be present within the proposed site and requested that a detailed historic assessment be carried out.

Joe Thorpe from Natural England advised that the development is likely to have a significant effect on nature conservation sites and further assessment is required. 

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