Traffic and infrastructure fears as major housing project starts
- Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant
As construction begins on hundreds of homes near Norwich, concerns have been raised over whether the existing services in the area can cope with the new demand.
Larkfleet Homes has secured planning permission to build up to 550 homes as part of hybrid plans located between the Northern Distributor Road and the Broadland Gate business park.
Work has begun on phases one and two of the scheme to provide 315 homes off Smee Lane, as well as providing land for a primary school, nursing care home facilities and other community facilities such as sport pitches.
Phases three and four of the scheme are proposed as an outline application for up to 235 homes accessed from the Poppy Way roundabout and the Smee Lane T-junction.
District councillors approved the plans in the spring of 2020 but there remain concerns among locals over whether the infrastructure in the area can cope.
Parish clerk Su Allport said: "It is all well and good building more homes but we need the infrastructure to serve them. Doctors surgeries are struggling and there is even more housing for Blofield and Brundall.
"As a parish council we had our concerns about infrastructure, light pollution and traffic when the application was submitted.
"More cars on the roads around Postwick creates more problems. Until the park and ride stops being used as a testing centre there is no public transport for Postwick parishioners, although Norfolk County Council has provided a temporary bus service."
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Developers said 33pc of the homes will be affordable in accordance with policy requirements with sustainable drainage included within the scheme where the flood risk is considered to be low.
But Eleanor Laming, district councillor for Postwick, said: "This is a large number of houses most of which are family sized homes and the increase in population will put extra pressure on existing infrastructure services such as schools and health centres which are already stretched.
"The homes are being built on greenfield land when we need to be building more on brownfield sites to ensure that we retain high-quality agricultural land for food production and carbon sequestration.
"From now on all new houses need to be fitted with solar panels and energy efficient heating systems such as air source heat pumps or failing that, hydrogen ready boilers to reduce carbon emissions. This is not yet happening."
She also suggested the noise levels from the NDR are likely to be a concern for homeowners as the traffic flow on the road will increase with commercial and housing developments planned for the surrounding area.
Most of the homes will be two-storey.
A planning statement prepared on behalf of the developers by Pegasus Group stated: "The site is allocated for mixed use development, as part of an area where the council anticipates significant growth."
The plans go on to say the provision of education and community facilities will mitigate the population growth and will be provided both on-site and through Section 106 provisions.
Ifield Group, who run the nearby Broadland Gate business park with Pigeon Investment Management, sold the land to Larkfleet.
Will Jones deals with industrial and office enquiries in relation to the park for Bidwells on behalf of the Ifield Group.
He anticipates increased demand at Broadland Gate businesses such as Screwfix, Toolstation, Howdens and McDonald's as a result of the new homes.
Mr Jones said: "In my view the development is good for the area and for Norwich as a whole. We have seen a lot of activity at Broadland Gate and you only have to drive up there to see the construction going on.
"This should very much complement what is going on with the new homes.
"All the occupiers should benefit from the fact people can potentially live closer to Broadland Gate and the Broadland Business Park."
It comes as work is also taking place to build the new Broadland Police Station at Broadland Gate.
Major housing projects planned for Norwich
Thousands of new homes are being earmarked both in Norwich city centre and its surrounding towns and villages.
National planning think tank, Centre for Cities, believes more homes can address affordability and housing inequality issues, but it does ask questions over the existing services and infrastructure available.
Among the major projects lined up for the city are the East Norwich masterplan and the Pinebanks development in Thorpe St Andrew.
The former includes four key sites - Carrow Works, the Deal Ground and May Gurney sites in Trowse and the Utilities site between Thorpe Hamlet and Whitlingham.
This would see 3,500 homes built in addition to the 725 planned for four sites across Thorpe St Andrew.
Controversial plans to redevelop Anglia Square could see around 1,100 homes built from late 2022 as developer Weston Homes unveiled fresh proposals after being met with an initial rejection from the secretary of state.