Hethersett residents queued to catch a glimpse of the latest housing plans for the village which could see almost 1,200 new homes built on its northern fringe over the next decade.

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Scores of people gathered in Hethersett Methodist Church yesterday to view a masterplan put together by architects John Thompson and Partners (JTP) on behalf of Hethersett Land Limited - part of the Ptarmigan Group.

The developers said they aimed to submit an application for outline planning permission by the end of October.

The presented masterplan includes 1,196 new homes and community facilities which would be built in six phases over a 10 year period.

The proposed facilities include a new primary school, extension of Hethersett High School’s playing fields, a new club house for Hethersett Athletic Football Club, a small centre for businesses and retailers, a community orchard and allotments, a wetland park, green open spaces and playing areas.

A transport strategy has also been drawn-up which includes new pedestrian crossings, footpaths and extended cycleways linking Hethersett with Norwich Research Park.

The latest plans have been put together following a community planning weekend hosted by JTP in March 2010. Back then, developers had indicated the possibility of building 4,000 new homes, which attracted protests from residents.

During yesterday’s exhibition, some visitors found the masterplan an improvement on what had been proposed before, but others still aired strong opposition to such a large urban extension.

Resident Ray Hannent, of Longview, whose home boundary would abut the new development, said: “They should be looking at creating new villages with modern infrastructure, not extending existing villages. We have creaking infrastructure and creaking facilities. The GP surgery, schools, water, sewerage - how is everything supposed to cope?”

Some visitors were in favour of the community facilities proposed.

A Little Melton resident said: “What I’m most enthused about is the cycling arrangements. It means people like me who like to cycle can travel without having to take our chances with the traffic.”

Hugo Kirby, managing director of Ptarmigan Group, said there would still be time to discuss including a new doctors’ surgery within the scheme after the plans were submitted if the local health authorities showed an interest.

He added that the masterplan fell in line with the Joint Core Strategy, adopted by South Norfolk Council, to build at least 1,000 new homes in Hethersett by 2026.

“There are still concerns about development - there always will be - but there is a pressing need for houses and we’re trying to make the best of these plans” he said.

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