Calls to stop major development in expanding village
- Credit: Sophie Wyllie
Villagers who signed up for a quiet life in the country claim they “cannot cope” with hundreds of new homes being built on their doorstep.
Horsford has undergone a building boom with 500 new homes going up in the past five years.
And the news that a house builder wants to build another 350 have been met with despair.
People living in the village say infrastructure can’t keep up, with the school at capacity and doctor’s appointments hard to get.
The new home additions include over 300 at Kingfisher Meadow off Green Lane and over 100 at Butterfly Mill off Mill Lane, both by Barratt David Wilson Homes.
The housing giant could put in plans for around 350 more homes, a nature park, public open spaces and sports pitches next to Kingfisher Meadow and Butterfly Mill.
It comes as politicians and experts have warned of what is needed if Norwich is to meet requirements to build 45,000 new homes.
A Broadland District Council spokesman said the firm has set out reasons why it believes the site should be developed after it was not selected as part the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP).
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Barratt David Wilson Homes originally wanted to build 600 homes with open space and independent inspectors are expected to examine the GNLP next year.
A David Wilson Homes Eastern Counties spokesman said: "While we have no immediate plans for new homes to be built on the land south of Green Lane we evaluated the impact of further development on the area as part of the emerging local plan process.
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"Any new plan would look to invest financially in the surrounding community to ensure impacts on healthcare, education and highways are appropriately mitigated.”
Dawn Matthews, 47, who has lived off Gordon Godfrey Way for 25 years, said: "The village has got too big. The amenities cannot cope and no one knows anyone anymore.
"It is a nightmare getting an appointment at the doctors' surgery and the school is quite full. Horsford is losing the village feel."
But Mrs Matthews said it remained a nice place to live.
Colin Dennis, 77, from Holt Road, who moved to Horsford in 1987, said the village had changed a lot but said extra investment had been brought into the area.
He added the biggest problem was bad traffic and HGV vehicles on the Holt Road, which cuts through the village and causes his home to shake.
Neil Hollingdale, 55, who works at Horsford's RPI Engineering, said: "Developers are building on greenfield land. The countryside is everything."
The engine builder added more people working from home and wanting to live in villages would push up house prices.
Anna Green, 39, from Beech Grove, said: "The schools need updating and we need a high school. Our infrastructure would not cope with more houses."
Debi Hall, 54, from Thorpe Marriott, who grew up in Horsford said the community had expanded but facilities including the village hall, children's play area and school had improved.
District councillor Dave Thomas said he understood more houses were needed but did not want hundreds of properties in the village.
"The GP is at capacity and some people cannot get their children into local schools," Mr Thomas added.
Sally Ross-Benham, associate director of primary care network development for North Norfolk with NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “The CCG has been supporting Drayton Medical Practice (which runs the Horsford Surgery) in its discussions about premises and future plans, and will continue to do so.
"Drayton Medical Practice has recently benefited from an arrangement for land that neighbours their existing Drayton site which will facilitate practice expansion, if required."
The BDC spokesman said it would continue to work with infrastructure providers as part of the planning process.
The estimated population was 4,701 in mid-2019 compared to 750 in the Second World War.
MP's push for improved infrastructure
An MP has urged for greater focus on infrastructure before new developments are built.
Richard Bacon, who represents South Norfolk, has written the Bacon Review which looks at the future of house building.
He said: "I support building more homes. We have built far too few homes for several decades. That's why prices have risen and an entire generation has priced out of ownership. We have to fix this.
"It can be no surprise that people will object to houses if it leads to intolerable pressure on the doctors' surgery or school places.
"Providing infrastructure should be done at the outset.
"Our present way of doing housing doesn't work. As a system it is intellectually bankrupt."