Mystery developer floats 'long-term plan' to build homes on deer park

The Deer Park in Old Catton, which has been sold by the Buxton family, pictured inset with members of the parish council

The Deer Park in Old Catton, which has been sold by the Buxton family, pictured inset with members of the parish council - Credit: Denise Bradley/Peter Dent

The unnamed new owner of a cherished village park has expressed an interest in building homes on the site following its recent sale. 

The Old Catton deer park is located just off Spixworth Road and was recently sold by the Buxton family - who believed it would not be built upon. 

However Old Catton parish clerk Sarah Vincent and council chairman Bradley Sabberton-Coe recently met with the mystery new owner - a developer - to discuss the future of the green space. 

The clerk claims the developer revealed long-term plans to build houses on the deer park.

The developer also did not rule out the possibility of selling the land to the parish in the future.

The council would not reveal the name of the developer to the Evening News.

The clerk said: "He is considering all the options. Anything that happens with the land will not be overnight. 

EDP Sunday/calender.Horses bathed in early morning sunshine as they awake from shelter under a tree

Horses in the deer park - Credit: Simon Finlay/Archant 2006

"Even if the developer does decide to do something with the land, preparing a planning application for it will take time." 

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The parish council published an update on its website which says the developer "will probably not wish to develop the whole site".

It also states the horses - which are privately owned- will remain in the deer park and, at the time of the meeting, no new arrangement has been made between the owner and developer.

Richard Potter (Cons), district councillor for Old Catton, said: "Am I surprised the developer has long-term plans to build? Not really.

"They didn't buy the land to plant trees or turn it into a meadow.

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton 

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton - Credit: Richard Potter

"But I feel like they grossly misunderstood how strongly people and the council feel about protecting the deer park. 

"For now it's still very much unknown because they still have to achieve planning permission.

"It's immaterial whether the developer has short-term or long-term plans. I want the green space protected."

Andrew Buxton, front, and Bradley Sapperton-Coe, right, chairman of the Old Catton Parish Council, a

Andrew Buxton, front, and Bradley Sabberton-Coe, right, chairman of the Old Catton Parish Council, at the renamed Buxton Lodge, Catton Park, with members of the parish council and Andrew's son, Harry, second right. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Harry Buxton, who oversaw the sale of the park, said he will not be commenting on the issue again.

Speaking about the prospect of homes being built, his father Andrew Buxton - who was born in Catton Hall - said: "That's always been a possibility. Some people are keen and some are not.

"It's the usual story." 

Friends of Families' House fundraising concert at the John Innes Centre on May 22, 2014.Andrew Bux

Andrew Buxton is pictured on the left during a fundraising concert in May 2014 - Credit: Archant archive