More housing will make Watlington a village with ‘no soul and heart’, resident warns

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A West Norfolk village will be left with “no soul and heart” if further major housing developments are permitted there, a resident has warned.

The fear was expressed amid growing anger over plans for 40 new homes in the Mill Road area of Watlington, which community leaders say villagers are “up in arms” about.

But consultants acting for the company which wants to build the homes say there are “no reasonable grounds” for blocking the proposal.

Bury St Edmunds-based Bennett Homes has submitted an outline application for 40 homes on the site, of which eight would be affordable housing units.

But opponents are worried about the potential loss of wildlife habitats as well as the impact of additional traffic and demand on local services, such as the school and doctor’s surgery.

One of them, Gillian Roberts, said: “The roads, particularly Thieves Bridge Road, were not made for the amount of traffic they will have to cope with.”

She added: “I fear the village will become yet another place with no soul and heart.

“How is the school church and especially the medical centre going to cope with yet more residences?

“When I came to live here 16 years ago the medical centre looked after approximately 4,500 patients. That figure is now 6,500 and still counting.”

However, supporters argue the village is well placed to accommodate further development, because of its close proximity to the A10 and its railway station with direct services to Lynn, Cambridge and London.

And a report prepared for the developers by transport consultants ASD Engineering said: “There are no reasonable grounds why this site could not be developed for residential purposes.”

The application is due to be discussed at the parish council’s scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday.

Its chairman, Jean Golding, said she could not comment on the issue until after the debate.

But officials have already asked for an extra week to formulate their response to the proposals.

Although the deadline for comments about the application is this Friday, the parish council says that will not given them enough time to set out their position after Thursday’s meeting.

And, in correspondence with the borough council, which has been published by the authority, parish council clerk Sara Porter said: “Many residents are completely ‘up in arms’ regarding this application.”