'Disappointment' over potential loss of green space near Thickthorn

Sonya Blythe, parish clerk for Cringleford Parish Council, and Daniel Elmer, South Norfolk Council member

(L-R) Sonya Blythe, parish clerk for Cringleford Parish Council, and Daniel Elmer, South Norfolk Council member, pictured with the green space - Credit: Norfolk County Council/Cringleford Parish Council/Big Sky Developments

Potential cuts to public space beside a housing development have been met with disappointment from local councillors. 

An area of land in Cringleford may have to be developed if work to alter the Thickthorn roundabout is approved.

Big Sky Developments, owned by South Norfolk Council, has applied to the local authority to amend the layout of recreational land beside the 350-home St Giles Park estate in Newmarket Road.

The green space next to St Giles Park in Cringleford

The green space next to St Giles Park in Cringleford - Credit: Big Sky Developments

The new layout has been proposed "to accommodate potential impacts from the nationally significant infrastructure project A47/A11 Thickthorn interchange improvement work", according to planning documents. 

However, the final decision on the road layout proposed by Highways England is yet to be made by the Planning Inspectorate.

Sonya Blythe, clerk for Cringleford Parish Council

Sonya Blythe, clerk for Cringleford Parish Council - Credit: Cringleford Parish Council

Sonya Blythe, clerk for Cringleford Parish Council, said: "The council was obviously disappointed to find that the parish would receive less open space that originally expected.

"Under this plan we will have lost space for one football pitch and a set of allotments. But we appreciate that work is needed to improve Thickthorn for all who use it."

She added the open space would still contain three football pitches, play areas and an orchard.

Norfolk County Councillor Daniel Elmer. Picture: Norfolk County Coucil

Daniel Elmer who is a member of South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

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Daniel Elmer and William Kemp, who both represent Cringleford on the district council, said: "It is deeply regrettable that the improvements to the Thickthorn roundabout could reduce the amount of land available for recreation in Cringleford.

"This is not a decision of South Norfolk Council, either in a planning capacity, or as the owner of Big Sky Developments.

"The council is committed to delivering formal and informal recreation space alongside developments through it planning policies, and through its ownership of Big Sky Developments, ensuring that profits of development go back into supporting services for local people.

"We remain supportive of the Thickthorn roundabout upgrade, which should improve travel times across Norfolk, and ease entry into, and exit from, Cringleford for local people."

Spencer Burrell, director of Big Sky Developments, said if the Thickthorn changes were not approved the original plans would be used.

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout.

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

He said the company had held meetings with the parish council to discuss the changes to "minimise disruption".

A play area next to St Giles Park in Cringleford built by Big Sky Developments

A play area next to St Giles Park in Cringleford built by Big Sky Developments - Credit: Big Sky Developmemts

People started moving into St Giles Park in April last year and it is hoped the estate will be finished by 2024/25.