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New homes plans changed after outcry over impact on army cadet base

PUBLISHED: 10:50 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:50 04 February 2020

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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Plans for 40 new homes have been revised to address fears it would have forced the closure of a popular army cadet group.

Before and after: Changed illustrative plans for new homes in Harleston, which now includes an open space for use by the local army cadet group. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk CouncilBefore and after: Changed illustrative plans for new homes in Harleston, which now includes an open space for use by the local army cadet group. Picture: Code Development Planners/South Norfolk Council

Some of Norfolk's highest-ranking armed forces officials had voiced opposition to the planned housing development in Harleston.

The scheme to build 40 new dwellings on a three-acre former builders' yard on Station Hill would have seen Harleston Army Cadet Force (ACF) lose most of its outdoor facilities, including its parade ground.

The Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force has provided activities including parade, physical fitness, navigation and team work at its currebnt base since the 1960s. Picture: Norfolk ACFThe Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force has provided activities including parade, physical fitness, navigation and team work at its currebnt base since the 1960s. Picture: Norfolk ACF

Almost 50 people have objected to the plans with many citing the impact on the youth group, which has been based at a hut on the site since the 1960s and currently has 40 members aged between 13 and 19.

Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner Kevin Pellatt and Major Bob Gibbs, executive officer of Norfolk Army Cadet Force, had submitted formal objections to South Norfolk Council.

Kevin Pellatt, Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner, who had objected to plans for new homes that would affect the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force. Picture: Denise BradleyKevin Pellatt, Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner, who had objected to plans for new homes that would affect the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force. Picture: Denise Bradley

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But following discussions, the developers have now altered their plans to provide a "public open space directly adjacent to the existing cadet hut" in the ownership of the Army Cadet Force (ACF).

Land where 40 new homes could be built off Station Hill was last used as a builders yard and store. Picture: Simon ParkinLand where 40 new homes could be built off Station Hill was last used as a builders yard and store. Picture: Simon Parkin

Whereas previous illustrative plans showed the cadet hut boxed in by new houses, an amended plan for the site shows a green space next to Station Hill that is larger than the one the group currently uses.

Prior to the changes, Major Gibbs, who began his own 30-year military career in the ACF as a cadet sergeant with the City of Norwich Troop, had warned the plans would have impacted on group that offers "unparalleled personal development and life changing experiences".

Mr Pellatt had said: "The loss of this facility may mean that the organisation ceases to be viable in terms of its core delivery."

Both have now written to support the changes to the planning application.

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

In a letter explaining the revisions, Mike Carpenter, of the developer's agents Code Development Planners, said: "I understand that Major Gibbs consulted with the Cadet Norfolk Artillery Battery command team who manage the Harleston detachment and all are in agreement with the conclusions.

"We have discussed with Major Gibbs our agreement that the future management of the public open space would permit the ACF's use at specific times and for specific purposes."


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