Residents and councillors gather on King’s Lynn’s Hardings Way to protest over fears that homes could be built near Harding’s Pits
Residents and councillors expressed their concerns about potential plans to build 43 houses near a green space as they joined together for a peaceful protest on Saturday.
More than a dozen of them spent the morning protesting against West Norfolk Council’s decision to earmark the homes to be built on land next to Harding’s Way in South Lynn, as they say that the area is “unique” and retains a “rural atmosphere”.
Residents are pleading for the land – which was once at the heart of the town’s whaling industry – to not be built on. Rally organiser Kevin Waddington said: “When I first came to Lynn, what became Harding’s Way was a rough grass track.
“A grant was provided by the central government specifically to provide an all-weather safe road for cyclists, walkers, and the hordes of young children on their way from South Lynn to Whitefriars Primary School.
“This is a unique area in Lynn – the only part which retains a truly ‘rural’ atmosphere.”
Mr Waddington added: “The site the council is reserving for housing would have to have an entrance road built right opposite Harding’s Pits’ nature zone.
“There would be, firstly, heavy road construction vehicles, then for house construction, and finally there would be residents’ cars, dustcarts and from time to time delivery vans, removal lorries etc.
“The bus gates would be moved further north, and the whole southern end of Harding’s Way would be open to all motor vehicles.”
He said protestors would be asking the borough council to remove the site from the local plan.
“There is also an online petition to sign - ‘Keep cars off National Cycle Route 1 in King’s Lynn’ - which has now gathered over 1,500 signatures,” Mr Waddington said.
West Norfolk councillor Alexandra Kemp was also at the protest and expressed her concern that the new development could add traffic on bus and cycle lanes alongHarding’s Way.
Cllr Kemp urged for residents to be listened to.
She said: “The borough has a poor grasp of health inequalities, which can be caused by unhealthy housing locations and pollution, is on very shaky ground about the surrounding geography, and appears not to have heard of climate change at all.
“The houses would be next to a heavy industrial site that belches out noise and fumes, and in a high flood risk zone, next to a reed bed.
“The council would be irresponsible beyond belief to build new homes in the flood plain in the rapid inundation zone where you can’t live on the ground floor. If there is a flood, how do you get out? Do you get out?
“What if the sluice has to be opened in a flood event? The borough has moved the housing allocations around Harding’s Pits like musical chairs.
“The administration needs to stop these antics now, ask HM Planning Inspector to take the allocation out and turn the eastern sites into enhanced greenspace as Biodiversity Net Gain to absorb the carbon dioxide and industrial emissions.
“Residents have campaigned for years to keep the green space of Harding’s Pits free of traffic. No means no.
“The borough is treating residents with disrespect. People should be empowered not dictated to.”
Last month, we reported that the authority’s cabinet members had agreed to push forward with a £29,000 scheme to designate land at Harding’s Pits in Lynn as a protected outdoor space.
This village green scheme hopes to protect this area from future development, ensuring it remains an open space.
Borough council cabinet members previously agreed to proceed with the bid, but they took a different view to Cllr Kemp and were supportive of the brownfield land in the vicinity being used for housing.
Cllr Jo Rust, cabinet member for people and communities, has highlighted that building on the brownfield site could create much-needed affordable housing for the area.
Cllr Kemp brought the issue up at the borough council’s full meeting last Wednesday evening, attempting to have councillors alter their motion in order to prevent any homes being built there.
However, she was told this was inadmissable at the meeting, and councillors agreed the motion as stated.