Public have say on eight-year, 725-home Pinebanks scheme

People living in the area are unhappy about the decision. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Residents on Hillcrest Road have been raising concerns about the Pinebanks proposals for years - Credit: Archant

A community has had its say on a proposed development for hundreds of new homes which is estimated to take eight years to complete if approved.

A series of consultation webinars are set to take place next week regarding the proposals for up to 725 homes at Pinebanks, Griffin Lane and the former Langley Preparatory School site in Thorpe St Andrew. 

Ocubis Ltd, which acts as development manager for the site owner, has stressed the Thorpe Pits do not form part of the development after county councillor Ian Mackie had heard residents were concerned over the area of scientific and ecological importance. 

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The development manager said the Pits were an important part of the open space strategy after Mr Mackie vowed to ensure they did not "slip into the development scheme".

Councillor Ian Mackie pictured at the Pits in Thorpe St Andrew

Councillor Ian Mackie pictured at the Pits in Thorpe St Andrew - Credit: Submitted

But residents also have ongoing fears over the impact of traffic after a previous planning application for the site lodged plans for 216 homes with only one access point on Hillcrest Road. 

Philip Clay, 51, of Hillcrest Road, had been leading a campaign on behalf of residents to stop 1,280 vehicles passing through his road between 7am and 7pm.


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In light of the latest proposals, Mr Clay stressed residents were not against the building of homes, but felt that any development should be sympathetic and fit in with existing residents.

Mr Clay said: "My main concern is traffic. The proposed site has increased from 231 and with people having more than one car these days it's going to be a horrendous situation.

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"On Hillcrest Road, they all have cars on the roadside and buses struggle to get through. 

Residents on Hillcrest Road are concerned about what the Pinebanks proposals will mean for traffic

Residents on Hillcrest Road are concerned about what the Pinebanks proposals will mean for traffic - Credit: Philip Clay

"Hillcrest Road is not designed for all the traffic coming through and there could be accidents and all sorts from the residents' point of view. It is vital there are three access roads."

Town councillor Stuart Snelling, who lives on Bishop's Close which backs onto Pinebanks, said: "A considerable amount of time has been taken from the sale of Pinebanks in 2009 and at last a lot of the concerns residents had have been taken into consideration with this proposal." 

The pavillion in Pinebanks in 2008, before it lay vacant. Photo: Angela Sharpe

The pavillion in Pinebanks back in 2008 before it lay vacant - Credit: Archant © 2008

Among the concerns which Ocubis has sought to address is the preservation of the Second World War historical features and the listed tower at Pinebanks, as well as the preservation of the ancient woodland.

The Pits in Thorpe St Andrew, an area of scientific and geological importance 

The Pits in Thorpe St Andrew, an area of scientific and geological significance - Credit: Ian Mackie

Ocubis also said there would be access to Pinebanks and the north of the Langley site from Henby Way and Hillcrest Road, as well as access to the south of the Langley site from Yarmouth Road. 

An aerial view of the four sites which are being earmarked for development in Thorpe St Andrew

An aerial view of the four sites which are being earmarked for development in Thorpe St Andrew - Credit: Submitted

Mr Snelling said: "Some of the proposals go down well, and others not so well. I hope there is a positive way forward. Bringing all of these into the plan means there is a complicated mix of different opinions so as a councillor I would like to see all of them addressed.

"It is important to makes sure we have adequate housing of a lower value to help first time buyers."

Former landlady of The Buck Patsy Dashwood, who lives on Yamouth Road, believed there would be a strain on existing services unless other amenities are built.

She added: "It's going to cause a strain somewhere. For Pinebanks, where are they [vehicles] going to come down? Thunder Lane takes enough traffic now."

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

A member of staff at the Thorpe Fish Bar added: "They keep saying they will be building for a long time. Sometimes it's best to take it as it comes. There are always pros and cons with any development. It's good that new homes are built and people move to the area."

The Pits are an area of scientific significance which residents want protecting from any development in Thorpe St Andrew

The Pits are an area of geological and scientific significance which residents want protecting from any development in Thorpe St Andrew - Credit: Ian Mackie

Thorpe St Andrew Town Council has said it is important people respond to the consultation and will welcome the opportunity to comment on the plans once they are submitted.

A spokesperson added: "These developments will be a significant change to the town, and the town council looks forward to hearing detail on how the development protects the Grade II listed building, Scheduled Monument, and ancient woodland on the site.

"It is understandable that some residents will welcome plans which will see the site built out in the coming years, whereas others will have a range of concerns including the impact on wildlife and highways."

Stephen Chatfield, development director at Ocubis said: “We are undertaking a full traffic impact assessment, the scope of which has been agreed by highways, and which will assess any additional impact over and above what was previously consented, and advise on any mitigation required at junctions.

"The development will come forward in phases as dictated by the market and we envisage that it will be completed within around eight years from the commencement of construction.”

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