Would this home ‘ruin the character’ of quiet Norfolk hamlet?

An illustration of the proposed home off Beachamwell Road, Drymere. It was designed to look the same

An illustration of the proposed home off Beachamwell Road, Drymere. It was designed to look the same as the 1920s Forestry Commission houses in the hamlet, which is near Swaffham. Image: Design and Access Statement - Credit: Archant

It was designed to fit in with the 100-year-old Forestry Commission cottages that sit nearby.

But plans for a detached house in a sleepy Norfolk hamlet look set to be dashed over concerns it would ruin the landscape and open the door to developers.

Rebecca Gibbons of Beachamwell is making a third bid to have a three-bedroom home in Drymere, near Swaffham, approved after a similar application in 2015 was refused, and another bid last year was withdrawn following several objections.

And Breckland council officers have recommended the authority's planning committee also refuse this application.

A design and access statement for the Beachamwell Road property reads: "The scheme has been carefully designed to be in keeping with the local vernacular of the Forestry Commission cottages found in Drymere, and offers a one-and-a-half storey home with the same scale, setting and density of the surrounding properties.

"The dwelling will be designed with a Norfolk country cottage aesthetic and will include high-quality materials and architectural detailing."

If successful, the applicant would plan to live at the property, where she already keeps goats in an adjacent paddock.

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A comment in support of the plan states: "We are sure she would landscape the proposed property to the benefit of her neighbours.

"We think Drymere could easily sustain another property without any loss of character to the village."

But other residents of the 15 former Forestry Commission houses, Swaffham Town Council and Breckland's planning officers are against the idea, partly out of concerns it could lead to more development there.

A council report on the plan states: "If approved, the proposal could set a precedent for further development given the extent of other undeveloped land of similar character in the vicinity.

"Such further development would cumulatively further erode the open appearance and rural character of the area."

Objectors to the proposal also claim that the settlement at Drymere is of "increasing heritage interest", commenting: "The distinctive pattern of dwellings in their large plots needs to be conserved, and will be lost if new development is allowed."

They also state: "Surely these plots are classed as green-belt and should be protected from any form of development?"

A decision on the plan is due to be made at a planning meeting on October 28.