Wensum, by Jim Harding, Tuesday, May 23

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Rudham Stile Lane and the fields which are set to be developed.

As a regular user of Rudham Stile Lane on its southern edge, which can barely accommodate two vehicles going in opposite directions, it’s hard for me to imagine all the building work which will fill the neighbouring fields before too long.

This stretch has always defined the northern limits of Fakenham with its crop variations from year to year.

And also provided adjacent residents and the rest of us with pleasing views.

We have known about this scheme for a number of years and everyone has been able to take part in the consultation process with the district council.

Somehow this procedure never quite manages to capture the reality and it’s only now, with the planning notices being displayed along the lane, that I begin to accept the inevitable.

The figures are very significant.

Up to 950 homes, a new primary school, a children’s nursery, a hotel, plus a selection of retail outlets.

Sounds almost like a small town on its own although it will obviously be keyed into the existing infrastructure.

Just how road links with the rest of the community pan out remains to be seen but there’s little doubt that the pressures on current facilities will be considerable.

Mention has been made of the fact that the land for development belongs to Trinity College, Cambridge, who are also patrons of the parish church.

With a primary school being part of the whole project I wonder whether a church school might be considered appropriate. We shall see.

One sacred bit of territory has been saved from the builders, much to everyone’s relief.

The allotments to the west of Grove Lane will continue under town council control as they have done for so long.

Had there been any hint of encroachment there would have been every chance of a riot on our hands.

It may not be so surprising that this development plan has divided opinion amongst the community.

I have heard both negative and positive comments reasonably expressed.

Change of any sort can be difficult and this will be a massive change for us all.

As part of the post-war generation I know that the status quo is an impossible dream and remembrance of things past can lead us all on the road to nowhere.

That doesn’t make it any easier for us oldies to always acclaim the new and adapt.

But I guess we have to accept what is just around the corner and to the best of our ability welcome the challenges it presents.

Just down the road in Sculthorpe, residents await the outcome of an inquiry into plans to virtually double the size of their village.

Opposition has been vociferous, as it was from the moment Amstel Group Corporation announced its intention to build some 200 new homes and a school back in 2015.

In support of village campaigners, the district council has refused planning permission, a decision which prompted the appeal and inquiry.

The potential developers argue, naturally, that more homes are needed in the area and the community would benefit from a new school.

But locals clearly think otherwise and reckon their identity will be smothered.

There are plenty of placards with the words ‘Save Our Sculthorpe’ on them which in essence describes just how passionate people feel about this issue.

It could be a few months before a final decision emerges.