Objectors ramp up efforts to axe scale of 725 homes plan

Chloe Smith joined Friends of Thorpe St Andrew's campaign against 725 new homes across Pinebanks, Langley and Griffin Lane

Chloe Smith joined Friends of Thorpe St Andrew's campaign against 725 new homes across the Pinebanks, Langley and Griffin Lane sites - Credit: Ian Mackie

Opposition is mounting against a major housing development which would see 725 homes built in a city suburb. 

More than 80 people attended Friends of Thorpe St Andrew's public exhibition of the proposed plans for the Pinebanks, Langley and Griffin Lane sites at the Dussindale Centre on Friday March 11.

The event showcased and gathered opinions on the blueprints which would see 295, 280 and 150 dwellings built respectively.

The newly-formed group are battling the size of the development, which is 73pc greater than when the plans were agreed in 2013.

Under the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP), there is a deliverable housing commitment of 386 homes in Thorpe St Andrew between 2018 and 2038.

Map showing housing allocations in Greater Norwich

This map shows where housing would be allocated if the Greater Norwich Local Plan is approved. Pic: Greater Norwich Development Partnership. - Credit: Greater Norwich Development Partnership

But at the exhibition, attendees signed a petition against the scheme, started by Thorpe St Andrew’s own environmental champions Millie Harvey, 10, and Maya Riches, 12.

The petition is now nearing 1,500 signatures.

The duo were able to discuss the plans with Norwich MP Chloe Smith, who attended on the invitation of county and district councillor (Cons) Ian Mackie.

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Ms Smith, who represents Norwich North, listened to the issues expressed by neighbours about the impact on local highways safety, pressures on social services and environment damage. 

Ms Smith said: "I was pleased to meet Millie and Maya who both care passionately about the environment.

"Although MPs do not have any role in the planning process, it's important to me to encourage everyone's voices to be heard and to listen to local people.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith (second left) inspecting housing plans for Thorpe St Andrew

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith (second left) inspecting housing plans for Thorpe St Andrew alongside Cllr Ian Mackie, Maya Riches and Millie Harvey - Credit: Ian Mackie

"I work as a team with our local councillors, who do have the responsibility for planning, and it’s good that they are proactively helping residents with information at an event such as this."

Ocubis, which acts as development manager for the owner Berliet, declined the opportunity to comment.

Millie Harvey - who was inspired to campaign against the developments by the likes of Greta Thunberg - said: "I’m very happy to see so much support with my petition of opposition.

"I’d like to see less houses proposed with more green areas for animals to live, people to walk through and children to play in.

People gather for a protest walk against plans for homes in Thorpe St Andrew

Millie Harvey, seven, started a petition against the Pinebanks and other developments earmarked for Thorpe St Andrew. She attended the protest with a new sign highlighting her environmental concerns - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"I’d like to know what the developers are going to do to help the environment and the area I live in. I’m worried the animals won’t come back once all the machinery has been there for the planned eight years development time. I will be 18 by time this has finished."

Mr Mackie, who represents the ward at district and county council level, added: "We are delighted that Chloe came along and listened to the local concerns regarding these development proposals.

"They are too big, they will cause too much damage and will negatively impact the community for decades to come if approved."

The Friend of Thorpe St Andrew committee member continued: "We are calling for the original plans that were approved in 2013 to be respected, instead of this Frankenstein set of proposals that aim to cram as much on each site as possible."

Led by Cllr Mackie and town councillor Peter Berry, more than 200 people marched from Broadland District Council in Yarmouth Road to Henby Way in January in staunch opposition to the plans dramatic increase in size.

Fellow committee member and Maya's father, Mike Riches, added: "As someone who lives here I know many people have grave concerns.

"The developer has built nothing on Pinebanks or Griffin Lane in nearly a decade despite having planning permission, but now they want Broadland District Council to grant permission for a massive increase in properties which will only increase their profits when they sell the land.

"This is no good whatsoever for our local community."

To find out more about Friends of Thorpe St Andrew's activities and activism against the developments in Pinebanks, Langley and Griffin Lane, visit friendsoftsa.wixsite.com/pinebanks.