Here we go again …

You have probably already seen the article in this week’s Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury telling us that Fleur Developments have resubmitted plans for development of Hethersett Paddock. This time the planning permission is for 22 houses, 5 less than they were planning for earlier in the year. But that’s not the point, is it. More than 80 objections were sent to the council last time (the application was then withdrawn) and residents were objecting to development of the land AT ALL. This is one of the few remaining green spaces in our village and with the massive Hethersett North development already approved, why do we need more houses?

The planning reference is 2014/2429. You can find all the paperwork, including the plans and drawings, here https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NFCHXVOQJX700

To object you can make your comments through the following channels as usual:

  • You can email the case officer Tracy Lincoln at planning@s-norfolk.gov.uk
  • You can write to:  Tracy Lincoln, South Norfolk Council, South Norfolk House, Long Stratton, Norwich NR15 2XE
  • You can log in to the South Norfolk Council planning website and leave your comments online

Looks like the closing date for objections will be around 16 December.

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Heathfields and more

So the new development near the waterpower is called Heathfields – ironic seeing as its covering more fields. Building is underway but at least the road is getting a much-needed pathway.

Heathfields development Hethersett

The start of the Heathfields development in Hethersett

Great Melton road new pathway in Hethersett

New pathway on Great Melton Road Hethersett

Which brings us on to the recent issues around road improvements in relation to the Hethersett Land application. South Norfolk Council don’t seem to tell people what the result of consultations are but on their website they have posted the decision which was to approve both amendments with no conditions on 19 September. The committee papers can be found here: http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/CARMS/meetings/dmc2014-08-20ag05.pdf 

The local press contacted us recently to ask for some more information about the Heathfields development. Unfortunately I just keep this blog and the Twitter account going, as best I can, to try and keep people in the village up to date with what is happening as I think we should all be aware. I have no more means of finding information out than anyone else in the village and it takes a lot of time (which I don’t really have) to trawl through South Norfolk Council documents and try and understand them (as a layperson and a non-specialist). It particularly frustrates me that even when you respond to a consultation South Norfolk Council don’t email to tell you the result, you have to go looking.

The Hethersett Our Way group ceased to have any real organisation when planning permission was granted to Hethersett Land. However, I feel – as someone who lives here and grew up in the village – that we need to be aware of what is planned, respond to consultations when we are made aware of them and try and ensure Hethersett stays a good place to live. I will try to continue to do this as best I can but if anyone can help with information please do let me know through info@hethersett-ourway.org.uk

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Planning application for Hethersett Paddock – objections by 20 August

Back in February we highlighted the consultation evening for the proposed development of 25 houses on Hethersett Paddock off Queen’s Road http://hethersett-ourway.org.uk/2014/02/08/consultation-on-more-development-in-hethersett/.
The development obviously raises concerns over the impact of additional traffic on Queen’s Road and Great Melton Road, particularly construction traffic. And with the development near the water tower already under way and with the 1200 “Hethersett North” development due to start some time soon, why does Hethersett need another 27 houses?
The developers were keen to present part of the development as an ecology area for the village, which sounds delightful, but with people living in and passing through the area on a day to day basis, just how much of an ecology area is going to remain? And how long before litter ruins it?
You can now view the whole planning application and objections so far here: https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=N95L0SOQ2O000

To object you can make your comments through the following channels as usual:

  • You can email the case officer Tracy Lincoln at planning@s-norfolk.gov.uk
  • You can write to:  Tracy Lincoln, South Norfolk Council, South Norfolk House, Long Stratton, Norwich NR15 2XE
  • You can log in to the South Norfolk Council planning website and leave your comments online

It looks like the closing date for objections is 20th August. 

The proposals have already received coverage in the EDP – you can read the story here: Controversial bid to build homes on Hethersett wildlife haven

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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 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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