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Village Forum Turns into Drop In Meeting


A meeting originally advertised as a village forum on May 13th seemed to change tack, ending as a drop in evening to view possible plans for the new development.

Originally the evening was advertised as a forum starting at 6.30 p.m, but flyers distributed around the village inside the local newspaper quite obviously changed the format of the evening - inviting villagers to drop in between the hours of 5 and 8.30 p.m to view plans.

There also seems to be some confusion about future plans following the general election which has seen the first coalition government in force for 70 years.

Articles in various Media outlets have stated that the future of large scale development in Norfolk could now be in doubt. In May 14th's edition of the Eastern Daily Press journalist Dan Grimmer stated:  "A question mark hangs over a blueprint for where tens of thousands of homes will be built in Norfolk - after a planning inspector raised a string of concerns about the strategy."

The article goes on to say that a planning inspector needs to agree that the Joint Core Strategy drawn up by a group of councils in response to government calls for at least 36,000 new homes in and around Norwich by 2026 is sound before it can be used as a basis for agreeing or blocking planning applications. The comments must put into doubt the soundness of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership at a time of a rather volatile political situation in the country.

Now the examination process, which will look at various issues in depth and decide if the strategy is sound, has been put back to September at the earliest, whilst fears continue that any disorganised strategy could let in developers to build wherever they feel fit to do so.

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The report back meeting in Hethersett on 23rd March clearly stated that there would be a Hethersett Village Forum at 6.30 p.m on Thursday 13th May. This would suggest some kind of meeting, but what actually took place was a hastily put together forum drop in which ran from 5 p.m until 8.30 p.m with the comment that this represented "extended hours from those previously publicised."

The forum turned out to be a display of proposals following the planning weekend. Outside the village hall the group set up to fight large scale development had put up banners and flyers of their own including the words "Hands off Hethersett - Leave our village alone." A number of anti development posters have also sprung up in gardens around the village.

For the record the display promised the following from a development of 1,100 homes.

An Eco corridor with allotments and play spaces

A green buffer landscaped open space separating new hamlets from the existing village.

New hamlets of traditionally low density settlement.

The retention of the existing village centre with environmental improvements and traffic calming measures

The expansion of the High School with the existing Junior school being re-developed to provide space for the High School.

A new community school with playing fields and games area

A business zone area

A secondary village centre with shops, cafe and pubs and events space

A north village green

A mid village green

A south village green

A new community medical centre with doctors' surgery, dental practice and parking

A football arena with full size pitch, training area and viewing terrace.

A woodland activity zone with zip slides, assault course and play area.

A new junction at Colney Lane with the B1172 and cycleway to the Watton Road.

Upgrading Back Lane to form principal access to new hamlets.

Traditional development of low density housing

Agricultural style row housing with allotments

A residential care home

An expanded park and ride scheme

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You can read an internet version of the Eastern Daily Press article by clicking here.