Builder offers to give village primary school a new car park as part of new homes bid

Caston Primary School. Picture: IAN BURT

Caston Primary School. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Ian Burt

A developer has offered to give his village primary school a new car park - after becoming aware that his vision to build new homes nearby could create extra traffic in an already congested area.

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

However, the plan has caused mixed feelings in the area, with some supporting and others opposing the idea.

Caston resident Philip Hall included the car park as part of his bid to build five two-bedroom homes in the village, near Watton, after he was said to be 'aware that there is a requirement for additional parking facilities for the school'.

Caston's Village Appraisal 2017 highlighted 'concerns regarding parking in front of the school at peak times', with the assessment 'indicating a requirement for the school to provide additional parking spaces'.

A Breckland Council report ahead of a planning committee meeting on Monday, February 12 to discuss Mr Hall's proposal added: 'The provision of the car park has been designed and planned to meet this identified need.'

Many residents have welcomed the move by Mr Hall, with one resident saying: 'Thoughtful of the applicants to consider all of this for the village as well as making a business profit for themselves.

'Do hope this goes through as it helps with the safety of children in and out of school.'

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But others have written to Breckland Council to express concerns about over-development in the village, as well as the design and layout of the car park.

Some also believe the creation of new homes and a car park could cause a flood risk.

Caston Parish Council unanimously objected to the application following an extraordinary meeting last year, on the grounds that the new homes would be 'detrimental to and will damage the street scene'.

It also argued the plan would have an 'adverse impact which significantly and demonstrably outweighs any unproven benefit'.

An email from parish council clerk Jo Blackman read: 'The proposed development will increase the already very heavy traffic in this section of the village particularly at school arrival and departure times.

'The proposed parking area will only exacerbate the very serious and dangerous traffic and crossing issues as this is adjacent to the school location.'

However Breckland Council officers have recommended that councillors approve the plan, saying it 'would provide both economic and social benefits to the village'.

The recommendation would be subject to a number of conditions over matters such as the landscaping and design of the plans, as well as the materials used.