Campaigners face fresh battle to stop industrial estate ‘blot’ on edge of Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:19 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:22 20 December 2017

The proposed site for a new industrial estate at Keswick.

The proposed site for a new industrial estate at Keswick. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

Campaigners who fought to stop an industrial site from being built on the edge of Norwich are gearing up for a fresh battle - after the developers returned with a revised bid.

Darren Huckerby. Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd +44 7902 242054Darren Huckerby. Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd +44 7902 242054

An application to turn farmland - in a triangle between the A140 near Harford Bridge Tesco and the B1113 - into offices, industrial units and warehouses was rejected in the summer.

That followed a campaign called Stop The Blot from people living in Keswick, with former Norwich City star Darren Huckerby among those who opposed the scheme.

Keswick and Intwood Parish Council, Caistor St Edmund Parish Council and Cringleford Parish Council all objected to the proposal.

Other objections came from Norwich Cycling Campaign, while South Norfolk Council’s own landscape architect raised concerns over “significant harm in terms of visual effect”.

Councillors on South Norfolk Council turned down the scheme on the grounds of harm to the landscape, but applicant MAHB has come back with a revised application - which would take up an even bigger space.

The initial application was for a 27 acre site, but the new one is for 31 acres, although the amount of landscaping has been increased and the ‘operational area’ reduced.

The revised scheme, which the applicant says could create 1,000 jobs, also sees changes to where buildings would be and “greater attention” given to the design of the buildings.

In documents lodged with South Norfolk Council, the developer states: “Amendments have now been made to the application proposals that enable the applicant to demonstrate that the impact of the development on the landscape can be further reduced from the original proposal.

“In addition, further evidence is provided in respect of the material considerations relating to job creation and highway benefits, that weigh in favour of the proposals.”

Jeremy Cocks, who helped to set up the campaign, said: “We are a bit annoyed, to put it mildly. It’s come in over the Christmas period and the deadline for objections is January 4, so we are asking South Norfolk Council for an extension to that.

“It’s pretty much the same plan as before. The council rejected it last time and we hope they will do so again, but we are faced with yet another period of uncertainty.”

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