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Fury in Watton over homes plan

PUBLISHED: 11:06 07 July 2010 | UPDATED: 14:51 02 August 2010

EIGHTY furious neighbours have signed a petition against a developer's plan to build 91 houses in the north of Watton.

EIGHTY furious neighbours have signed a petition against a developer's plan to build 91 houses in the north of Watton.

Hopkins Homes has submitted a planning application to Breckland Council for a new housing development on an area of grass and meadow land north-west of Saham Road.

The proposals for the 3.27-hectare site include 55 open market homes and 36 affordable homes, ranging from single-bed flats to houses with four or more bedrooms.

Neighbours claimed the planned estate was too densely-packed and would bring misery to those already living nearby, with added traffic, noise and pollution also impacting on the area's visual appeal and wildlife.

But the developers said the project had been sensitively designed with minimal impact on existing residents, while independent wildlife and habitat surveyors have raised no formal objections.

A petition carrying 80 signatures was handed to district planners this week, and last night some of the objectors were expected to attend Watton Town Council's planning committee, which was due to discuss the plan.

Ronald Upton, who lives on Blackhorse Close near the site, said: “Whilst we and our neighbours wish to retain our present environment we are unable to reconcile the need for more houses in this area.

“The high density of affordable houses will obviously create the most noise and pollution. A major proportion of this house type is surrounded on two sides with their gardens right up to local residents' boundaries and therefore creating most nuisance.

“Whatever compromises are achieved we believe this proposed development is far too large to squeeze into the existing residential area. A smaller development would attract a more sympathetic response from the local populace.”

The Hopkins plans include an area of public open space of almost 6,000 sqm which the firm says would act as a visual and social centre, creating “a new heart for this part of the town.”

A design and access statement submitted by the developers describes a “relatively self-contained residential development, which will result in little visual or amenity impacts upon existing surrounding areas or residents, whilst providing much needed housing which, together with the new public open space proposed, will enable a positive impact upon the character and appearance of both the surrounding townscape and nearby rural landscape.”

The plans also include 199 parking spaces, 91 cycle spaces and a new access road from Saham Road.

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