Major house builder eyes stalled estate

Roydon, Norfolk. Long Meadow Drive Housing Development
Roydon, Norfolk. Long Meadow Drive Housing Development

It has emerged that a major house builder is now eyeing a quarter-finished Diss homes estate which has been mothballed for the last 18 months.

Long Meadow, on the Diss and Roydon boundary, off Denmark Lane, is supposed to be an exceptional development of 114 homes - most of them deemed affordable, and made out of pioneering sustainable building materials.

The developer, C-Zero, based in Birmingham, has now met with Persimmon Homes, a major house builder, about finishing the site.

It is unclear as to what has been discussed at the meetings, but a representative from South Norfolk Council’s planning department has been present.

The site in its current form is deemed not viable by C-Zero because of the way the homes are sold, and the amount of community money it would have to pay as part of the plans.

In June it had plans refused to waive £553,000 of that cash, and change the way many of the homes were sold, called discounted market sale, which would keep the homes affordable for future generations, to other short term affordability schemes better supported by lenders.

David Goldson, Roydon Parish Council chairman, said: “The site can not possibly stay as it is. It is inevitable that someone else will need to come in to complete the site.”

The estate, which has 28 occupied homes, was only given permission on an “exceptional” rural site due to the amount of affordable homes it would generate. The implications for the site if Persimmon took over are unclear at this stage, but Robert Pearson, of C-Zero said last year that more open market housing could be the way to get the site finished.

It could mean the site becomes more like a regular housing estate. Land director at Persimmon, Martin Davidson, did not deny the meeting with C-Zero, but said they were always seeking new opportunities and did not want to reveal any details about discussions “while they were ongoing”. A C-Zero spokesman was not willing to comment on the meeting.