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More Homes for Hethersett

Despite considerable opposition from villagers, parish and district councils, a controversial new housing development for Hethersett has been given the go-ahead.

The development will put further pressure on local services - some of which are already at bursting point. It will also increase the population of the village by well over 200.

A Government planning inspector has ignored objections to a 96-home development off Myrtle Road and Lynch Green.

Considerable concern has been voiced about the narrow access to the site and the effect the development will have on village services. The application, by Wimpey Homes, was rejected by both Hethersett Parish and South Norfolk District Council. But that rejection was overturned on appeal.

Now Hethersett Parish Council and Hethersett Society intend taking the matter further and even as far as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Over 100 people objected to the development, but the feeling in the village is that their voices have been ignored.

"The decision has caused a great deal of indignation. The proposals include plans for a 20 mph zone and some road humps, but those won't help the village's struggling infrastructure," said chairman of Hethersett Parish Council George Beckford.

Norfolk County Council also have concerns about access to the development and these have been supported by South Norfolk District Councillor Fred Watkins, who lives in Hethersett:

"The access road is a narrow country lane with no pavement meaning pedestrians, cyclists and cars all use the same route. The main concerns are about safety, especially of those who will be living in the new houses. I sat through the inquiry and a lot of it was theoretical. The inspector said the road had a good safety record. But that might not be the case in the future.

"There is a lot of disappointment, particularly from those people living in Myrtle Road and Lynch Green," he told the local Evening news newspaper.

Richard Carter, deputy head at Hethersett Middle School, was even more forthright:

He said the school couldn't cope with an influx of children if families moved onto the new estate.

"We've already got parents taking us to appeal for places at the school and we have a waiting list of eight or nine for one year group. The classrooms are bulging and the school is at its limit. Where on earth we can put more children is beyond me."

Hethersett Web Comment: As chair of governors of the Middle School I have a vested interest in this matter. Medical, educational and other services in the village are already stretched and this proposal is for a sizeable new development which will stretch the village infrastructure even further.

The Inspector seems to have ignored the views of villagers, Parish, District and even the county council and decided from afar that this development should go ahead.

It will add over 200 people to the population. I have never been against new development as such and feel that new people moving into the village should be afforded a warm welcome (similar to that I received when I moved in over two decades ago), but there has to be a limit.

A 4% increase in the population in one go will stretch resources to the limit and there is also no doubt about the unsuitability of the access roads to the development. Obviously the inspector in this case has listened much harder to the developers than to the villagers.

If you have any comments on this matter or anything else why not discuss them on our noticeboard section which is accessible from the home page.

Peter Steward 2004