South Wymondham will be the site of around 1,230 new homes after members of South Norfolk Council’s Development Management Committee voted in favour of development plans this morning (18 June).
The plans will see a new pedestrian and cycle tunnel constructed under the railway line at Station Road, but only after 750 homes have been constructed at the sites on land off Silfield Road and Rightup Lane. Once 150 homes have been constructed, the current mini-roundabout will make way for a three-way traffic light controlled junction with single line traffic through the current road tunnel.
The developers estimated that this trigger point of 750 homes would be reached during 2018, four years after the start of home building. Once the tunnel is constructed, the existing footway will be removed and the road returned to two-way traffic.
The new development includes a new school, the construction of which will begin once the 200-homes mark has been reached.
Applications from two developers, Pelham Homes and Endurance Estates Strategic Land, were considered together and councillors, some of whom expressed their own reservations over traffic and connectivity issues, voted by 10-1 in favour of the schemes.
Permitting construction will help South Norfolk Council meet its obligations under the National Planning Policy Framework’s five-year land supply criteria. Chris Trett, South Norfolk Council’s planning officer in the case, explained that the joint core development strategy allows for 2,200 homes to be built in the South Norfolk area and that there was a deficiency in the supply of land available for development. He added that “this represents sustainable development provided that the issues of access can be overcome”.
David Higgins, of Norfolk County Council’s Highways Department, said that the subway and overcoming the connectivity issues were “essential to the sustainability of the development”.
After a joint presentation from Jacqueline Mulliner and Chris Odgers, from planning and design company Terence O’Rourke which outlined the scheme and its benefits, the meeting heard from Gill King of the Lizard Residents Association. Mrs King expressed her serious concerns over the impact on the area of such a large scale development which could lead to urbanisation of a rural part of Wymondham.
Wymondham Town Councillor Robert Savage added that “the scheme will have a major impact on south Wymondham”. He said the scheme should be rejected as large-scale development was not the preference expressed by residents of Wymondham during a consultation exercise on the Town’s future, and that the development would severely impact upon the Lizard and its County Wildlife Site. He added: “The lack of connectivity will create a ‘New Town’ feeling, with no connection with the old town”.
The pedestrian and cycle tunnel will require its own planning application and the development’s approval was given subject to this being granted, along with a legal undertaking between the developers and Network Rail agreeing that the subway would be built.