New houses could 'carve up parkland' of stately home

Rackheath Heath, which is close to a proposed development of 43 homes

Rackheath Hall Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: Simon Finlay

Fears have been expressed that a scheme to develop 43 homes could harm a nearby historic stately home. 

Parker Planning Services is seeking permission from Broadland District Council for up to 43 homes at Home Farm in Rackheath, as well as change of use for public open space and connecting cycle and pedestrian routes.

But Rackheath parish councillors have called for consideration to be shown to Rackheath Hall and its parkland grounds.

Minutes from a planning committee meeting in March show councillors felt the hybrid application would not respect the historical significance of the site by "carving up the parkland", which is classed as "key landscapes" under Broadland's joint core strategy objective.

Safety of access from Wroxham Road has also been identified as a concern by the parish council with the potential for increased volume of traffic. 

Councillors also argued the application had a "town house" feel that did not the reflect the woodland area, while "poor connectivity" to the main settlement of the village was also raised.

Jason Parker, director and head of planning for Parker Planning Services, said: "There is a lot of background to this site and some points that the parish council may not be aware of.

"We will of course look at any comments made by residents and the parish council and take these on board and consider." 

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The firm said it believed appropriate green areas would allow for on-site open space and to potentially link woodland to the south-west providing land open to the public which was previously private. 

But the parish council's planning committee agreed it would like to see details provided for the number of trees which could be felled at the entrance of the site.

Members also believed the proposed leisure routes could open Rackheath Hall and the parkland up to "public invasion and abuse" which they felt provided no real benefit to the community. 

The committee said residents would be reliant on cars to access local services with schools only accessed over the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, and they wondered if the application would set a precedent for building on other green spaces in the area.