Locals give 'country town' thumbs down

Residents have hit out at plans that could see a massive swathe of countryside turned into housing and the creation of a “new country town” at Mangreen, near Swardeston.

Residents have hit out at plans that could see a massive swathe of countryside turned into housing and the creation of a “new country town” at Mangreen, near Swardeston.

More than 200 people attended a public meeting to voice their concerns at proposals that could see up to 6,700 houses built on greenfield land in the area.

The proposal for a new development at Mangreen is among three potential options for housing growth in the south Norfolk area being considered by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP).

South Norfolk needs to find space for 12,000 new homes between now and 2026 under government house building targets.


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An executive summary produced on behalf of a consortium of landowners details that 6,700 houses could be built on 180 hectares, with 5,700 at Mangreen and 1,000 at Mulbarton.

Worried residents attended a public meeting in Mulbarton village hall on Friday evening to voice concerns about the proposals.

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The meeting was chaired by district councillor Jon Herbert and included representatives from South Norfolk Council, local parish councils, and the landowners.

Areas of concern included the impact of the development on the surrounding countryside and on traffic.

Local people said they were also worried about the scale of the housing and suggested that there were other more suitable locations for a settlement of this type.

Some residents were appalled to find their homes and land swallowed up in a map showing where new houses could potentially be built.

David Watkinson said that from the map it appeared his 400 acre farm at Mulbarton “is going to be seized”. He told the meeting: “We don't want to give it up, we are very happy farming it.”

The GNDP is considering three potential options for major development in the south Norfolk area.

Option one would see 4,000 new homes in the Hethersett and Little Melton area, 4,000 new homes at Wymondham, no significant development in the Mangreen, Swardeston, Mulbarton and Swainsthorpe area and no significant development in Long Stratton.

Option two would see 4,000 new homes in the Hethersett and Little Melton area, 2,000 at Wymondham, no significant development in the Mangreen, Swardeston, Mulbarton and Swainsthorpe area and 2,000 homes at Long Stratton.

Option three would see no significant development in the Hethersett and Little Melton area, 2,000 new homes at Wymondham, 4,500 new homes in the Mangreen, Swardeston, Mulbarton and Swainsthorpe area and 1,500 homes at Long Stratton.

Areas of South Norfolk near Norwich would see 2,000 homes in all three options.

Andrew Gregory, director of planning, housing and the built environment at South Norfolk Council, stressed at the meeting that no decisions had been made and that at present the council is not promoting or supporting any of the options. He also described the plans as “incredibly crude”.

Mr Gregory said that a report with a recommendation would go to a meeting of policy group leaders on December 18. Out of that meeting there would be a preferred option and this would be followed by a full public consultation about the preferred option.

At the end of the meeting residents voted with a show of hands that they were unanimously against the proposals and did not believe South Norfolk Council had kept all affected well informed.

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said after the meeting: “We are looking at three dilemmas. Firstly is it right that all the proposed developments for the next 20 to 40 years be exclusively along the A11 corridor? Secondly should we be building on to existing towns, or is there an argument for creating a new town? And if we are going to add another 36,000 homes in the Norwich area is it sensible to exclude the possibility of a Long Stratton bypass as part of that?”

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