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New homes plan could see army cadets lose parade ground

PUBLISHED: 15:53 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 21 November 2019

The base of Harleston Army Cadets on Station Hill. Picture: Simon Parkin

The base of Harleston Army Cadets on Station Hill. Picture: Simon Parkin

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An army cadet group could lose most of its outdoor facilities, including its parade ground, as part of proposals to build 40 new homes in Harleston.

The Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force undertaking a charity ride at their base in Station Hill in 2016. Picture: Norfolk ACFThe Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force undertaking a charity ride at their base in Station Hill in 2016. Picture: Norfolk ACF

Plans have been submitted for land off Station Hill that was once the site of the town's railway station but was most recently a builder's storage and distribution yard until 2014 since when it has been a disused brownfield site.

An application submitted to South Norfolk Council by Kentford-based Code Development Planners wants to build 40 new dwellings on the three acre site.

The plans have prompted more than 40 comments and objections including over its potential impact on the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force (ACF) on Station Hill.

The former railway station building in Harleston that would be retained as part of plans for 40 new homes. Picture: Simon ParkinThe former railway station building in Harleston that would be retained as part of plans for 40 new homes. Picture: Simon Parkin

While the ACF building, which recently underwent an extensive makeover and upgrade, is not owned by the developers, the plans show that some of the new homes would be built on land currently used by the group.

MORE: Plans for 40 homes on site of town's former railway station

In a submission to South Norfolk Council, Lieutenant Sam Carter, detachment commander for Harleston Cadets, states: "This building has been in place since 1968 and there have been cadets in the area since 1943.

"The cadet unit is giving over 40 young people a focus and creates better young people who become an important part of the community. With the loss of this outdoor space, I can imagine there will be a huge impact on retention and recruitment."

Plans show the Harleston Army Cadet building on Station Hill would be surrounded by the new planned new housing. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk CouncilPlans show the Harleston Army Cadet building on Station Hill would be surrounded by the new planned new housing. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk Council

Holly Simpson, of Old Market Place in Harleston, whose son attended the cadets, said: "This development will badly affect the cadets and their ability to continue doing outdoors activities. In addition, it will severely restrict dropping off and parking facilities, meaning that access to the cadet hut will be difficult.

"It would be a sad loss for Harleston and its young people, for whom there is little else locally, if the cadets were no longer available."

Redenhall With Harleston Town Council has backed the application principle but raised concerns about flooding, density of the new houses, parking provision and upkeep of the Grade II listed former station building

Illustrative drawing of some of the 40 new homes on land off Station Hill in Harleston. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk CouncilIllustrative drawing of some of the 40 new homes on land off Station Hill in Harleston. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk Council

It also states the: "Army hut is an asset to the town. It is of the upmost importance to retain this."

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