I am extremely concerned by this application. There are many good and justifiable reasons why it should be refused
The paddock (once described by UEA’s Dr. Chris Barringer as an ‘important green lung’ in the centre of Hethersett) has enjoyed protected status as ‘public open space’ in South Norfolk’s Local Plan for decades, having been recognised for its contribution to the character and ecology of the village.
Hethersett has only recently had 1200 new houses forced on it, despite almost unanimous local opposition and a hard-fought campaign. Consequently this open area of paddock land assumes even greater importance as a counterbalance to the built environment. Not only does it sustain wide bio-diversity, it enhances the street scene and is essential to the character of the village serving as a reminder of Hethersett’s rural past where, to the delight of previous generations of young children and their parents, wildlife can be spotted in addition to grazing sheep and ponies.
I notice the applicants, by way of an attempt to make their development palatable, are somewhat cynically in my opinion proposing to leave a central area free from building, and allow public access. Currently, this area consists of wild grassland, ponds and various trees, bushes and undergrowth the wild nature of which suggests that calls would very soon be received to make it ‘safe’ by clearing/fencing/mowing etc. which would then result in another sterile, sanitised area of which there are several already in Hethersett. The bio-diversity for which the site is important would be lost- for ever. The remaining undeveloped area is quite simply not large enough to meaningfully support wildlife AND afford access to the public.
I would suggest it is the very fact that the public do NOT have access onto this paddock that helps make it so special and important to the centre of Hethersett, which is why the update of the local plan seeks to alter its designation to ‘Important Local Space’- which is exactly what it is, and what it should remain-for the benefit of the village and future generations of local children.
It is disingenuous for the developer to suggest that opening up this central area to the public is a valid reason to accept 22 houses- IT IS NOT.
The creation of another housing development in the village centre will unacceptably overload an infrastructure already working at capacity.
Access through Jaguar Road will lead to even greater congestion and danger to pedestrians than currently exists.
I hope you share my concern and will do all in your power to resist this unwelcome application.