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Development News

The following article has been submitted to the Norwich Evening News and the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury newspapers. We will attach cuttings as and when it appears.

Details of a major new housing development in Hethersett were outlined at a two day “Community Planning” weekend. 

Plans for at least 1000 and up to 4000 new homes were discussed at the Vision for Hethersett weekend in the Village Hall with over 200 people attending. 

Many villages voiced their concern at the possibility of an influx that will see the population of the village rise by at least 30%. Others agreed that the best way forward was to work with developers to ensure improved facilities throughout the village. 

The increase in housing is part of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership’s Joint Core Strategy for Hethersett and the weekend was organised by John Thompson and Partners on the instructions of the developers Hethersett Land Ltd which is part of the Ptarmigan Land Group. 

Many villages spoke of the “tremendous drain on resources” that additional development would bring and demanded assurances that facilities and services would be improved. 

“Development doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a good thing. By being involved you can influence what comes out at the end. It is a matter of balancing the bits that you do want against the bits that you don’t want. Hethersett is seen as an attractive place for development due to its proximity to the Norwich Research Park, the University and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital,” said John Thompson from John Thompson and Partners, adding that he was almost certain additional development would come to the area. 

The weekend discussed existing problems in the village which included traffic congestion, the lack of a village centre and parking, long waiting lists for doctors’ appointments, a lack of sports facilities and shopping, sewage and drainage problems,  inadequate local roads and village schools already up to capacity. 

Those present voiced concern that development would lead to a loss of open space, too much cheaper social housing and the village being subjected to urban development in a rural setting. Former district councillor Jacky Sutton said she felt Hethersett would just become part of Norwich and other people posed the question “Why don’t you leave Hethersett alone?” 

The two day event drew up a wish list for improvements that could be part of the deal. These included a new country park, keeping a green belt round the village to separate it from both Wymondham and Norwich, improved transport and road links, providing a real community-based village centre with adequate parking, improving shopping facilities and making the village more eco friendly and sustainable. 

The weekend also discussed re-locating village schools, building a new health centre, improving leisure facilities and launching a Village Team group to work alongside developers to bring about improvements. 

Once the Joint Core Strategy has been agreed it will be sent to the Government for testing and will then be examined by an independent inspector later this year. At that point specific areas for land development will be identified in Hethersett and the surrounding area including Little Melton. It is estimated that building could start within the next two to three years. 

Following the Community Planning Weekend, the design team began work on a “masterplan” which it was due to unveil to the village at a special meeting earlier this week. We will bring you a report on that meeting in next week’s Mercury. 

A full report on the points raised at the weekend – both for and against development – are featured on the Hethersett Village Web Site at www.hethersett.org.uk.