Hundreds sign Wymondham housing petition

More than 2,300 people in Wymondham have signed a petition opposing 'uncontrolled development' in the town.

The signatures were collected by action group Vision: Our Wymondham (VOW), who formed earlier this year to fight proposals for a 3,000-home urban extension to the north-east of the town.

The petition, which urges South Norfolk Council to oppose 'speculative and uncontrolled development' has now been handed over to councillors.

The group believes proposals by London-based Barton Willmore would create urban sprawl and destroy the character of the historic market town.

As part of the latest stage in its masterplan, the company submitted an outline planning application on behalf of landowners for 400 new homes and flats at Carpenters Farm, Norwich Common, in July.

Barton Willmore's actions have angered some community leaders who said the scheme had pre-empted the adoption of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy and South Norfolk Council's Local Development Framework.

Clive Walker, VOW supporter, said the group wanted to hand over the petition before the planning application was discussed by councillors. He said the group was not formed with the aim of preventing housing, but to ensure Wymondham received sustainable development and the views of local people were taken on board. 'A lot of people we have talked to say they don't want any more building to take place. Other people realise Wymondham will get bigger in the next few years, but they want it to be controlled,' he said.

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Last week, controverisal plans by Pelham Holdings for a 3,000-home development to the south of Wymondham were withdrawn.

The proposals, which also included 96,000 sqm of employment development, education facilities, local centres and a new junction with the A11, prompted hundreds of people to march through Wymondham in protest when they were submitted in 2008.

Instead the developer hopes to resubmit a new smaller application for approximately 500 homes later this year.

Ray Ricks, director of planning consultant Boyer Planning, said the application, which had its origins in 2006, was out-of-date with current planning policies relating to matters such as housing density, design, landscaping and ecology which would either call for the proposals to be amended or withdrawn.

He said: 'Pelham Holdings have reviewed their approach to development in the area and will be resubmitting an application for a smaller development on land to the east and west of Silfield Road in due course. Pelham Holdings will be preparing development proposals for the site through discussions with the district council and local community. More details on a public exhibition will be announced shortly.'

Anyone interested in supporting VOW can attend the group's next meeting at Wymondham Baptist Church, on Thursday at 7.30pm.

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