Kenninghall parish council wary of village developing too quickly

Principal developer Matthew Newbury (left) with members of the Memorial Hall Committee and Kenninghall local community on the site of the new Village Hall.

Principal developer Matthew Newbury (left) with members of the Memorial Hall Committee and Kenninghall local community on the site of the new Village Hall.

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Kenninghall Parish Council says the village must be careful not to grow faster than it can handle as it looks to create a development road map for the area.

The parish council plans to put together a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) over the next 12 months following the conclusion of Breckland Council’s Local Plan Consultation in January, amid worries the village infrastructure was straining under the housing boom in the last decade.

A statement issued regarding the village’s future read: “Due to ‘windfall development’ of a number of large sites and other ‘in-fill’ development, the housing stock of Kenninghall has grown by 60 dwellings.

“The ensuing increase in population has led to undue pressure on both the local school and doctor’s surgery, which not only serves Kenninghall, but also the residents of Banham, Quidenham and North Lopham.

“Furthermore, there is both congestion and danger from the significant growth of traffic movement in the village and the lack of adequate safe parking for residents’ vehicles.

“In the light of this recent large increase in housing stock, we are of the unanimous opinion that any further development must continue to be limited to within the existing settlement boundary and no new market housing development should be considered beyond it.”

Steve Gordon, Kenninghall parish chairman, said the NDP was necessary for local people to “put down some markers” for what they wanted to happen in and around the village going forward.

He told the Diss Express: “Planning and people’s wishes are two different things, but we don’t want to be exposed to wholesale development.

“We are wary the village is expanding too quickly. The school is already full and traffic and parking is another issue.

“That’s a big part of why we have taken on the development plan.”

At a meeting held at the White Horse pub earlier this month, the council heard from agents representing the owner of the Quidenham Estate about long-term plans to build up to 24 houses across two sites.

According to the agents, both sites were submitted as potential development plots during Breckland Council’s consultation period, with the former located off Market Place, within the village Conservation Area but outside the existing planning envelope, and the latter situated off Quidenham Road.

Formal planning permission to develop on these sites has not yet been applied for.

* Construction on Kenninghall’s new state-of-the-art village hall started this week, as part of a scheme that will deliver 12 detached and semi-detached homes to the area.

Newbury Developments has begun laying the foundations for a replacement to the village’s Memorial Hall, at a site adjacent to The Meadows.

It will be twice the size of the old hall and will feature a large internal space, with a badminton court and a stage for performing arts.

Peter Kay, chairman of the Memorial Hall Committee, said: “We are nearing the end of a long journey, which will result in a facility that will reflect Kenninghall as a great place to live and bolster the village’s excellent community spirit.”

Steven Gordon, chairman of the Parish Council, added: “We are extremely pleased. The hall is very welcome and a big step forward.”

The new hall is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.