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Protesters oppose plan for homes

PUBLISHED: 10:12 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:23 14 July 2010

Protesters last night gathered outside a public meeting aimed at showcasing plans to build at least 1,000 homes in Hethersett.

Opponents of the scheme display-ed banners and collected signa-tures on a petition as developers held a public consultation event at the village hall.

Protesters last night gathered outside a public meeting aimed at showcasing plans to build at least 1,000 homes in Hethersett.

Opponents of the scheme display-ed banners and collected signa-tures on a petition as developers held a public consultation event at the village hall.

They say they already have about 1,000 signatures from people who object to the plans.

Developers hope to build an initial 1,000 homes on the outskirts of the village. But they have also lodged a “scoping request” for up to 4,000 homes and some villagers fear the current plans are only the tip of the iceberg.

The meeting, dubbed the Hethersett Village Forum, was part of an ongoing public consultation and Charles Wheatman, chief executive of Ptarmigan Land which represents landowners, promised concerns would be taken into account.

But Phil Emery, one of the organisers of the Hands Off Hethersett campaign, said: “We won't be soft soaped - we are here to make it clear to them that this village is totally opposed to a development of the scale they're suggesting. It will start with 1,000 homes, but where will it go from there?

“We are concerned about the impact it will have on village amenities and also the increased traffic which could turn some roads into rat-runs.

“The developers are required to go through a consultation process, but we believe they're just going through the motions and aren't interested in what we have to

say.”

Mr Wheatman insisted that there was still time for villagers to have their say. “We have chosen to consult early on when we are still working on the design to ensure that people can play a real part in shaping this development,” he said.

“We could just come to them once the designs are drawn up and say 'what do you think' but that's not the way we want to do things. We want to hear what people have to say and will listen.

“It is not possible to rule out further expansion down the line, particularly if the council comes to us and says more homes are needed. But at the moment the plan is only for 1,000 homes and those will be built gradually.

“There is vociferous opposition from some sections of the community, but equally we have heard from people who support the plan.”

He added that South Norfolk Council had earmarked the area for new homes and the development was simply fulfilling that requirement.

Ptarmigan says building

homes could provide funding for a new school, a park and sports facilities through developer contributions. Further meetings will be arranged as the plans develop.

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