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Contracts signed for 226 new homes in Gaywood

Contracts have been signed that mark the official start of the development of a new community of homes in Gaywood.

Florence Fields, off Parkway, will provide 226 new homes and also mark the first West Norfolk Council development of dwellings to higher environmental standards and will see the enhancement of the adjoining nature area. The plans had been approved by full council in January.

Council leader Cllr Terry Parish said: “This scheme will provide much-needed homes for local people, to meet increasing housing need and demand. We are keen to ensure that our developments have as many benefits as possible for local people and we are continuing to work with our partners to maximise the benefits of this scheme.”

Florence Fields will be built next to the Lynn Academy site on Queen Mary Road/Parkway, Gaywood
Florence Fields will be built next to the Lynn Academy site on Queen Mary Road/Parkway, Gaywood

Simon Medler, regional managing director at Lovell, added: “Working in partnership with the council, we will be delivering these much-needed homes in Lynn.

“The name Florence Fields was chosen by students at Lynn Academy and pays homage to World War I veteran Florence Green, who lived in Lynn, while also taking inspiration from the fields and natural beauty in the area which make it a lovely place to call home.

“These new homes will benefit from being located in a sought-after area while being built with quality in mind and enjoying environmentally-friendly features.”

Preparatory work on the development has been going on for some months, getting the area ready for the building work to come. The homes will be built in phases and it is anticipated that the whole development will be complete by early-mid 2027.

The development as currently proposed will provide a mix of housing types and tenures. Some 15% of the homes will be ‘affordable’, available either for an affordable rent or shared ownership, and at least 20% more are due to be made available for private rental. The remainder will be available for market sale.

A report is due to be considered by Cabinet in October in relation to altering the proportions of the different types of tenure, to increase the amount of homes available for private rental and consider how other requirements, such as local connection, may be implemented.

The scheme will have high environmental standards with all the homes heated by air-source heat pumps and having an energy performance rating that exceeds building regulations. All homes will have provision to charge an electric vehicle and solar PV panels will be installed on the majority of them.

Next to the new homes a nature reserve will be created, and the development will promote the use of local suppliers and subcontractors.

However, although the opposition Conservatives welcomed the scheme, they were critical of the current administration, saying 15 members voted against the scheme as recently as February.

West Norfolk Conservatives’ spokesperson for development and regeneration Cllr Richard Blunt, said: “We are very pleased that the new minority administration has signed off the contract to deliver the scheme exactly as we had designed, structured and financed it.

“In October 2021, when we became the then new Cabinet under Cllr Stuart Dark, we took the prompt decision to reduce the development to 226 predominantly affordable properties, spend an extra £1.7m on ‘fabric first’ green infrastructure and work with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust to invest in and nurture the green space adjacent to it.

“We said at the time and have said ever since it was our intention to make this much-needed development ‘an exemplar’ to builders across Norfolk of what can be done and provide much-needed quality, airy and environmentally friendly, cost-efficient homes for local people near to existing amenities, relieving pressure on necessary housebuilding elsewhere across the borough.

“Sadly, for just under two years as we and officers diligently progressed the scheme, we were heavily and regularly criticised by political opponents for it, many of whom are now in the minority administration, to the extent that in February 2023 15 of them formally voted against it progressing.

“So whilst we are really pleased that the contract has now been signed and this great development will happen, we feel public statements from the current leader that this totally unaltered scheme is now in his and the administration’s opinion, only a few short weeks into their control of the council, an ‘exemplar’ somewhat strangely familiar and perhaps, rather sadly, more than a bit ironic.”

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