Consultation – proposed changes to requirement to improve roads – respond by 20 June

We were concerned this week to hear that Hethersett Land (the people granted planning permission to build on the land north of Hethersett) has submitted a “non-material amendment” to the conditions of the planning permission. 

What does this mean?

As usual, the documents are difficult to follow (and we are grateful to MK for highlighting) but this means that instead of having to complete all the off-site highway improvements to Colney Lane, the B1172 Colney Lane/Station Lane crossroads and Great Melton and New Road before any houses are occupied, the developers would be able to build and sell all of Phase 1 (371 houses) and part of Phase 2 before improving the roads, and all Phases could be constructed to first occupation of Phase 5 before Great Melton Road and New Road are improved. (You can see the phases here

The affected conditions read as follows in the original planning permission :

32. Notwithstanding the details indicated on the submitted drawings, no works shall commence on site until a detailed scheme for the off site improvement works as follows:-

a) Norwich Road/Colney Lane/Station Road crossroads (signals);

b) the footway/cycleway along Colney Lane as far as the A47 overbridge; 

c) the access to the development from Colney Lane via a Right Hand Turn Lane, and;

d)  improvements to Great Melton Road and to the New Road junction to bring it up to a Type 1 access Road standard 

has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

Reason for condition

To ensure that the highway improvement works are designed to an appropriate standard in the interest of highway safety and to protect the environment of the local highway corridor in accordance with Saved Local Plan policy IMP8.

33. Prior to the first occupation of the development hereby permitted the off-site highway improvement works referred to above shall be completed to the written satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

Reason for condition

To ensure that the highway network is adequate to cater for the development proposed, in accordance with Saved Local Plan policy IMP8.

If the “non-material amendment” is approved these would read as follows (I have tried to highlight the main changes in bold

Delete the present condition 32 and substitute the following conditions 32A and 32B as follows –

32A Notwithstanding the details indicated on the submitted drawings no works shall commence on site for Phase 2, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, until detailed schemes for the off-site improvement works as follows:

i)               Norwich Road/Colney Lane/Station Road crossroads signalised junction

ii)             The access to the development from Colney Lane via a Right Hand Turn Lane

have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

32B Notwithstanding the details indicated on the submitted drawings no works shall commence on site for Phase 5, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, until a detailed scheme for the off-site improvement works as follows:

i)               improvements to Great Melton Road and to the New Road junction to bring it up to a Type 1 access road standard

has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

Delete the present Condition 33 and substitute the following conditions 33A and 33B as follows:

33A Prior to the first occupation of Phase 2 of the development hereby permitted, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority the off-site highway improvement works referred to above in Condition 32 9a) shall be completed to the written satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

33B Prior to the first occupation of Phase 5 of the development hereby permitted, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, the off-site highway improvement works referred to above in Condition 32 9b) shall be completed to the written satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority.

So again, what does this mean?

Well, it’s not really clear to normal people like us – but we can only presume it will mean more traffic and congestion during the whole  building period. Let alone the risks of more traffic on the parts of Great Melton Road that have no footpath that has had such tragic consequences recently. 

What you need to do

You only have until Friday 20 June to make your feelings known to South Norfolk Council. You can do this in the following ways:

Quote Ref 2014/0860

You can see here that already some residents have made their feelings known – from repeating concerns about the development as a whole, to frustrations with the process itself and the lack of clarity (which I have to say I share). 

Apparently there was an advert in the EDP to alert us to this … I wonder how many people saw it. 

And another thing …

Hethersett Land has also submitted another “non material amendment” 2014/0863 to remove the requirement to build the footway/cycleway along Colney Land as far as the A47 over bridge (b in the requirements listed above). Apparently the intention is that land adjacent to Colney Lane will be ‘gifted’ and a ‘financial contribution’ made to the footway/cycleways construction.

You can send your comments about this amendment in the same way quoting 2014/0863. 

And one final thing …

I think it is about time that South Norfolk Council kept us informed of what is happening, so I shall be adding a point to my response to highlight the need for more clarity. 

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Consultation on more development in Hethersett

We’ve received the following notification today about a “public consultation” about proposed development of 25 properties on the paddock on Queen’s Road in Hethersett.

Let’s go along and find out more – potentially this puts further pressure on roads and infrastructure that will be stretched with the existing planned developments. Hethersett development

Subject: HETHERSETT ‘GREEN’
“We are having a public consultation to show more details of where we are to date in the Hethersett Academy on 17th and 18th February, 4pm to 8pm.

Following this, we anticipate making an application in March.

I will not be able to attend the consultation but colleagues will be there to deal with questions.

Kind regards

Joff Brooker
Director
Fleur Developments Ltd
61 Cromer Road
Holt
Norfolk  NR25 6DY
Tel 01263 712625 Fax 01263 711120
Tel: 07909914444
www.fleurdevelopments.com

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Councillors for Hire?

Sadly in the same week as Hethersett received a Big Society award, this article appeared in The Telegraph as part of their investigation into Councillors for hire.

To quote the article:

“Indigo Public Affairs’s strategy for obtaining planning permission is best illustrated by its management of one housing development.
The application covered 1,196 homes in Norfolk, along with a primary school and other facilities.
South Norfolk councillors approved the new estate at Hethersett, near Norwich, despite more than 100 letters of objection.
Councillor Greg Stone explained Indigo’s strategy for the site:
“My colleague, Barry, was very good, actually. He went down to Norfolk quite a few times, and he’s a Conservative himself, so he knows quite a lot of farmers in that part of the world… on the council, so he, he’s got very familiar with Norfolk farming circles and had a talk with them about, off the record, don’t quote me on this, if you’re a, if you’re a farmer, you know, you’ve got land, you probably see the advantage of selling some of your land for, for building houses on it.”
Before the councillors met to make their decision, Mr Stone explained that Indigo would send out a glossy presentation: “Obviously there’s a bit of PR involvement to accentuate the positive rather than the negative, but we’ll send that through 48 hours before the committee to members… nothing too, too complicated but explaining the key messages.” He added: “Like, we’ve often seen in committee meetings, they’ve got the officer’s report in front of them, like that, and they’ve got ours there next to them and they’re reading it.”

Indigo Public Affairs claim a 92% success rate in planning applications by “consulting with local communities and their elected representatives and listening to what they want. This allows their needs and desires to be incorporated into the planning process from the outset. It creates the ultimate win-win – the planning process is easier and faster for developers because communities and genuinely supportive, and local people get buildings they like in the places they want them to be.”

I think we saw little evidence that our needs and desires were taken into account in the planning application.

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Hethersett receives Prime Minister’s Big Society award!

As I may have mentioned before … I grew up in Hethersett from age 5 to 25 and moved back in recent years. So I am immensely proud of Hethersett for being the first village in the UK to receive a Big Society award from the Prime Minister. This is an amazing achievement for our village and another example of why it is a great place to live. Congratulations to Peter Steward and everyone else who worked hard on the Olympic events over recent years. You have done us proud. You can read the full story in the  Eastern Daily Press and on the Number 10 website.

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Chairman of Hethersett Parish Council resigns over planning decision

Yesterday’s news was covered today in the Evening News and BBC. In a further frustrating development we read this afternoon in the EDP that Gary Wyatt, Chairman of the Hethersett Parish Council’s planning committee has resigned as a result of the decision.

“I felt I needed to make a stand,” he said. “I have absolutely no argument with Hethersett Parish Council – it is just the frustration with parish councils in general that we seem unable to influence anything that goes on.

“We are the people on the ground, and we know the reactions of people around us, but we seem impotent when it comes to something like this which will increase the size of this village by 50pc.

“This kind of thing makes a complete nonsense of the government’s idea of localism. We are the most local form of government, yet we have no influence or powers when it comes to the really big, important decisions that affect us.”

It’s a sad day when someone who cares about our village feels they have to resign because we can’t have our say.

Our own James Utting said “We have consulted our professional planning consultant to see what options are available – we will maintain as much pressure against this inappropriate development as we are able,”

“The application is wrong for many other reasons, but possibly our over-riding concern is that residents voices have been ignored and elected councillors, when provided with a good opportunity and strong grounds to stem the flow of unwelcome and unnecessary expansion, have favoured the development lobby – not the people they are there to represent.”

According to the BBC story there were more than 100 letters of objection.

You can see the Council Agenda from yesterday (and who made the decision) here: South Norfolk Council Development Management Committee Agenda

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South Norfolk Council approves planning application

Unfortunately we have just heard that South Norfolk Council have approved the planning application by Hethersett Land. 8 voted in favour, 1 against, 1 abstention.
This is obviously extremely disappointing news as it will no doubt affect all of us in our lovely village as we deal with increased traffic and demand on our facilities.
The lack of proactive information from South Norfolk Council has been frustrating. Thanks to Phil for keeping us informed. Hopefully we’ll hear more details so that we can influence how the development is implemented.
We’ll try to keep you informed.

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I’ve submitted my response – have you?

Consultation on the proposed Hethersett development locations closes on Friday so you’ll need to be quick.

It’s pretty easy to respond. Register on the consultation site, if you haven’t already for the other consultations, then from the Hethersett section of the consultation document scroll down and pick the most appropriate question (if in doubt you can respond to Please give us your views on the Preferred Option site), give the reference for the site (if in doubt choose 950a which is the largest site and the one relating to the application from Hethersett Land) and click on the pencil to access the form and submit your comments.

You can also view the comments and objections already submitted by clicking on the magnifying glass next to the question.

Whatever your concerns please make sure you submit them to South Norfolk Council as part of this consultation.

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