Housing plan for former care home

About 80 new homes look set to be built on and around the site of a former specialist care home in Long Stratton, according to a vision presented to residents.

About 80 new homes look set to be built on and around the site of a former specialist care home in Long Stratton, according to a vision presented to residents.

South Norfolk Council has commissioned educational charity The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment to draw-up a concept for the area off Swan Lane with the aim of submitting a formal planning application at the end of the year.

Residents were given the chance to put forward suggestions on how the two and a half hectare site could be developed during two workshops and the Foundation presented its ideas on Thursday.

The site, which is owned by the council, currently contains Cygnet House - a residential unit for people with dementia which was closed in 2006.

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Andrew Gregory, director of planning, housing and the built environment at the council, said: 'We want a scheme we're going to be 100 per cent proud of, not just in a couple of years, but in 10, 20, 30 years. We do no want something now that will age badly.

'You're going to have to look at a lot because you live here. We're going to have to look at it a lot because we work here, so we've got to get this right.'

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The vision is to knock down Cygnet House and build about 80 new homes of varying size inspired by the historic buildings in Long Stratton.

The area would be criss-crossed with a mixture of streets and narrow lanes, including a road that runs diagonally from Swan Lane to South Norfolk House which would create a square where a memorial commemorating those that had died in Cygnet House could be built.

Although the overall look of the development was praised by some residents, others said a street connecting the site with neighbouring St Andrew's Close and St Michael's Road would create a rat-run.

Jeremy Caulton, principle urban designer for the Foundation, said: 'At the moment this is just a concept. If we get a lot of people who are totally against it (the street) then we can take it out. This is the point of this process.'

Some residents also questioned whether the council's want to build on the site was purely a money-making exercise.

Mr Gregory, said: 'The council has not looked at this as a profit-making project. You would expect us to not do this at a loss but all the discussions have been about getting a scheme of high quality but also a scheme that will set a precedent not just for Long Stratton but the district as well.'

The Foundation will use the comments made at the meeting to develop the concept further and start planning the site's finer details, including parking, infrastructure and drainage, before submitting a planning application.

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