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Comments Page
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NNDC Hempstead Conservation
&
Chicken Site Development


On 7th May 2021, Lanpro submitted their Planning Application for the Demolition of poultry sheds, ancillary structures and hardstanding, and erection of 5 no. detached dwelling and garages,
community space, landscaping, sustainable drainage and upgraded access.

The 32 associated documents can all be viewed on North Norfolk DC's website -
Here

The comments below represent the personal views of the attributed writers and are in chronological order

LANPRO FURTHER RESPONSE

Church Water Supply and Drainage: A really useful contribution to the village by Lanpro/Developers would be to provide these facilities and this should be a planning requirement. They will need details of what is needed and a cost estimate from the village before planning begins. There is an enormous pile of compost/rubbish to the rear of the Church which may be on the footpath route. This heap should be removed as part of the site clearance.

Play Area: The Village does not need a second Play Area. The existing one is located centrally and has basic equipment. It is not frequently used. Such a designated area has Health and Safety and supervision implications.

Car Park: There is a need for a small car park to serve the needs of the Church and Village Hall and to ease the destructive pressure on the roadside verges. However if the car park were adjacent to the new houses what would prevent the occupiers monopolising the available spaces? Each house will need parking for an average of two cars on site.

Community Space: So if for the reasons above neither Play area nor Car Park is appropriate what can the Community Space provide? Our suggestion would be to restore it to the water meadow status it enjoyed up to about 50 years ago before the chicken farm arrived.

Purchase of Land: If we succeed in buying the piece of land next to The Forge we would work towards making it a wild flower meadow, that is a semi – wild (as opposed to neglected) area.

We remain basically in support of the scheme which is a great improvement on some previous proposals. We need an influx of permanent full-time residents to the village.

Richard and Jill Roy - 24th March 2021


Questions raised by Parish Councillors and answers provided by Lanpro -

Are there any plans to offer assistance / grants for water and drainage to the church as raised in the document sent last week?
Yes, this is something we would be happy to discuss. These discussions could occur during the consideration of the planning application. Do you have plans/costs of what is required?

What are the plans for the footpath?  Location / route / entry and exit points, materials etc.
I will send across a draft plan shortly showing this.

A shingle public car park would be useful, where would this be located?  Ideally we would like to keep the community plot to the full size, so could this be on the side that you would sell?
We had discussed that the car park and play equipment would be the community plot (as you no longer need it for a village hall). Please let me know if this is not the case.

Could the proposed community space be shown on an aerial map?  What size will it be? 
We will indicate this on the proposed plan (which we will send over shortly) What play equipment would be offered? We would be happy to discuss this with you. I envisage the developer would provide a specified financial sum to the Parish to spend on the equipment. We can look at indicative costs for this. If the ground proves to be very wet could any drainage be provided on the community use site? The drainage for the red line area is planned for already. This will be shown on plans as part of the planning application.

What is the height of the proposed bungalows and two storey houses?
The two storey houses would be 7.2 metres at their highest. The bungalows would be 4.5 metres tall.
What is the height of the existing chicken sheds?
The two taller grain silos on site are approximately 8 metres high. The chicken sheds are approximately 4.75 to 6 metres tall. In summary, the bungalows would be shorter than the chicken sheds, and the houses would be just over 1 metre taller than the sheds, but not as tall as the silos.

If villagers wish to enquire about buying the unused land should they direct enquires through Lanpro or directly to Mr Picken?
I am happy for you pass on enquiries to Mr Picken.


Following is Lanpro’s response (highlighted in red) to my recent questions.

On a positive note, full planning permission is being sought, so lots of detail to be visible and considered. Of some concern is the fact that (if approved) the site will be sold ‘As Is’ and the prospect exists of the site being bought and ‘sat on’ for a period of time, until it suited the builders (or indeed sold on). Approved planning is good for three years and if I’m correct, work merely needs to ‘have started’ in that period - completion is another matter.
Chas Lister, Yew Tree House - 10th March 2021

(1) Will it be the case (as in the Brick Kiln site Fakenham) that the land identified in the Proworks draft will (if sold) be sold as 'Building Land with Outline Planning Permission'?   No – it would be with full detailed planning permission.

(2) Will the site (if sold) be sold 'As Is' ie with the poultry farm structures still in place, or as a fully 'Cleared Site’
I would imagine it would be sold with the sheds on site.

(3) Do Lanpro have a specific builder in place and if so who, or (if approved) will this land simply go to the general market?
There is no builder identified. I would anticipate the site being attractive to a small local builder because of the size.

(4) If sold on the general market to a third party builder, how then can any detail of Domicile type and quality be assured? The planning application will be for a full detailed planning permission. The Council would normally include planning conditions to any planning permission like this requiring the submission and approval of material details before the houses are built.

(5) What provisions are in place to deal with sewage from the proposed five domiciles? 
There would be an underground on-site sewage treatment plant to serve these. Details will be included within the drainage strategy for the application.


At a meeting between a Working Party of the Parish Council and representatives of Lanpro/Proworks on 17 February  concerns expressed by local residents and requests for clarification of the development plans were put to Lanpro.     Lanpro said they would consider these and respond shortly; they confirmed they intended to submit an application for full planning permission in the near future.

Lanpro's response to the above meeting -

Thank you very much to the Parish Council for your time on 17th February and the note you sent through on 24th February summarising the Council’s thoughts.

Further to the meeting, and your feedback, we have spoken with our team and our client and can provide the following update.

I have grouped our thoughts under key issue headings, below.

Principle of development
We are pleased that you think there is the potential for general support for the site, and hope that we can address your concerns and queries, and reach an agreeable compromise.

Area of land owned by Mr Picken outside the application boundary
Having spoken with Paul,  I can confirm he does not have any intention of developing that part of the site. I would reiterate again, that the land to the east of the access road is not part of Lanpro’s instruction.

Regarding the existing bungalow at the front of the site, Paul has said there may be the opportunity to either do it up, or replace it, but that the person building out the homes (should the proposals receive planning permission) would likely consider that.

If that is an area of concern, let us know, and we can discuss that further.

Yes, there could be an opportunity for the people owning houses next to the site to buy the land to extend their gardens.

The land we’re talking about is outside the application area, and separate from the proposals.

Mr Picken is keen to understand whether this is something all residents adjoining this area would be interested in (or in the event they are not, whether anyone would like a wider section – so he is not left with odd shaped piece of remaining land). These discussions would be outside the planning process, and separate from Lanpro’s involvement, however, I would be happy to pass on relevant contact details to Mr Picken of those interested in pursuing this.

Relationship between the church and new housing
We understand you are concerned about the proximity of new housing to the church, but as discussed, we have taken care to set the proposed homes away from the church and provide a single story bungalow closest to the church. This would move built form (that is existing) away from the church.

The proposed dwellings are also further away from the church than the existing properties.

We think the proposed relationship is an improvement on the existing sheds, and is in keeping with the proximity of existing surrounding homes.

Relationship between existing housing and the proposals
We understand residents to the east of the site are concerned what they may or may not be able to see from their properties.

The Design and Access Statement that will be submitted with the application will include sections across the development.

The new properties would be over 60 meters from existing properties and would be located within the existing hard standing area, which is much lower than the existing properties (around 4 meters lower).

There is existing mature hedging and trees on the border of the site, including some within the site, and some within the rear gardens of adjoining properties.

The landscape proposals include reinforcing this boundary with additional evergreen species.

The proposed housing would be set within the height of the boundary landscaping to minimise glimpses of the new properties from neighbouring properties or the surrounding area.

Existing and proposed photomontages from neighboring properties are not something we’re proposing to undertake at this stage, as we understand they would sonly how the existing planting at the rear of people’s gardens, plus additional landscaping proposed as the concept is for planting to be taller than the new properties.

If neighbouring households would like to discuss the extent and species of planting next to the rear of their gardens, we would be happy to receive photographs of the rear of their gardens to inform detailed planting proposals (which are typically included in planning conditions to any permission granted).
Please let us know if this is something of interest.  

Need for community facilities including water and drainage for the church
You have confirmed there is a community need for good quality parking that is fit for purpose for the church and village events, and for play equipment (which you are unable to obtain grant funding for due to lack of land ownership).

The proposals can include an area for parking spaces (we hadn’t discussed how many – looking at the area, we considered 5 may be appropriate – please let us know), and fund new play equipment to be provided within the community area, subject to the location discussion, below.

Location of community facilities
You have suggested that ‘to be of any use or value to the community the land gifted should be immediately djacent to the Church’. On our call and in your note you clarified that (notwithstanding the impact of houses on the church) this was so the land could be swapped with the Church in the future for burial space/car parking for the church.

I have discussed this with the team, to see whether this could be a feasible option.

There are four key issues we see with this (both for us and you), as follows:

  1. Given the site’s industrial use, we are expecting there will be contamination within the soil. A  relatively shallow depth will need to be remediated to make it safe for residential development. A significant depth would need to be remediated in order to make it suitable for graves. This would be at significant additional cost and risk, which we would have thought the Church would not be willing to take on. Graves are directed towards undeveloped sites for this reason.
  2. The man-made levels in that part of the site include a retaining wall to the existing graveyard. We would have reservations about the safety of digging graves within proximity of the wall, and any impact it may have on the church (which sits slightly further up the hill from this).
  3. The scheme as proposed has an attractive layout and would provide a good layout and amenity for ccupants. Introducing a car park to this (in place of one of the houses) would have an urbanising and undesirable effect on the character of the scheme, which we have taken such care in developing. It would be difficult to market rural homes next to a car park (which could undermine the viability of the scheme – which has already been significantly reduced in scale in response to comments, and is expected to have abnormally large build costs given the expensive materials proposed to be used, and the anticipated contamination remediation costs).
  4. The Council are unlikely to grant planning permission for homes next to a car park, as it could adversely affect the amenity of occupants.

Therefore, we do not think it will be possible to offer a community area within the existing built up area.

Locating the new community area (comprising car parking spaces and a children’s playground) just north of the proposed homes, would still relate well to the church and the village and be a short walk to the church.

Connectivity with the village
As discussed, we recalled that there was opposition to connecting the new homes to the village via the footpath to the south, previously, however as this is not the case, we will include this within our proposals.

It would connect the area we have suggested for community use to the church and village.

Size and type of housing
We have had regard to the housing needs within the North Norfolk District Council area, as this is the lowest level the Council project figures for.

The data suggests there is an overwhelming need for market (opposed to affordable homes) in the district.

The Council also state that family homes with 3, 4 and 5+ bedrooms make up 84% of this need.

The proposals align with helping to meet those needs.

Traffic
The existing site access serves the chicken farm, and the four homes to the east of the access road.

As you know, the use of the farm has been less intense in terms of vehicular movements in recent years, but there is no restriction on the vehicular movements allowed to/from the site.

The proposals will include an upgraded vehicular and pedestrian access. This would serve the new community space too.

Next Steps/Further meetings
At present, we hope we have answered your queries, but if you/any members of the public do have further questions please do let us know.

As you are aware, we have been working on these proposals for a long time and plan to submit them to the Council formally for their consideration very soon, so would appreciate your thoughts on the above, greatly.

Kind regards,

Sarah Clinch
Associate Planner | MRTPI
Tel: +44 (0)1603 631319


In response to the current development proposals I offer the following personal observations:

Is it Five or is it Nine Houses?
In a laudable piece of openness, Mr Picken (Picken Holdings) stated to the Parish Council that at such point, if and when approval is granted by Planning at NNDC, he then proposes to develop, as a separate case, the bungalow site. In the past this was planning approved for a continuation of the type of terraced property currently to be seen on the left of the poultry site entrance.

So Five will get you Nine!

Lanpro/Proworks & Picken Holdings have no plans to build any homes.
They simply do not build homes. Based on how they have operated elsewhere, I believe they propose no more than to seek outline planning permission and then sell the site on that basis. At that point, both Picken Holdings and Lanpro will be out of the picture.

Pickens previous site (a much larger one) in Fakenham went to market this way and was bought by Lovell Homes through Brown & Co. The Hempstead site being so small, might attract a building company which specialises in high quality, small scale developments and that might well be a positive thing, but who will buy and who will build is unknown.

Outline planning requires much less detail and assures us of very little.

The following therefore are my key areas of concern and I have put these questions to Lanpro via the Parish Clerk

(1) Will it be the case (as in the Brick Kiln site Fakenham) that the land identified in the Proworks draft will (if sold) be sold as 'Building Land with Outline Planning Permission'?

(2) Will the site (if sold) be sold 'As Is' ie with the poultry farm structures still in place, or will it be offered as a fully 'Cleared Site'?

(3) Do Lanpro have a specific builder in place and if so who, or (if approved) will this land simply go to the general market?

(4) If sold on the general market, how then can any detail of domicile type and quality be assured?

(5) What provisions are in place to deal with sewage from the proposed five homes? 

The following is the reply to me from CaaConsultation at NNDC with regard to my questioning how Lanpro learned of the Heritage Consultation Review well in advance of anyone else. I have highlighted in bold the assurance that in itself this prior knowledge give them no ‘advantage’.

With regards to your concern over Proworks, we took the draft Conservation Area Appraisals to the NNDC Planning Policy and Built Heritage Working Party on 12/10/2020 for their consideration. This is a standard requirement to seek approval from the Committee before undertaking a public consultation. Although we don’t specifically advertise when we are due to take something to the Working Party, as it is a public meeting, anything on the agenda is publically available should anyone be looking for it. I suspect this may be how the developer had sight of it before the consultation period, unfortunately this is not something we are able to prevent. To the best of my knowledge, no one within Conservation & Design has had any contact with Proworks on this scheme. In any event, they should be aware that an appraisal in its pre-adopted draft form carries little if any weight when dealing with specific planning proposals.

Chas Lister, Yew Tree House - 4th March 2021


The picking up/dropping off points for the school buses is on the green outside the church and at the bus stop. Unaccompanied children walking on The Street past White Horse Cottages is potentially dangerous and not to be encouraged. So, a direct route between the new development to/from the respective bus stops would encourage the uptake of homes by families with school-age children. Not only that, but the playground, too, would be safely accessible.
Ian Summers - 15th February 2021


The latest proposal by LANPRO/PROWORKS is of concern because of the proximity of the proposed new housing to the listed All Saints Church. The timing is also of concern because The Hempstead Conservation Area Appraisal is currently under discussion and has not yet been confirmed.
The North Norfolk District Council website states that:
The Council is reviewing its designated conservation areas.
The aim is to identify the special interest and characteristics of a place in order to inform
future development and help manage change. Once adopted, conservation area appraisals
become a material planning consideration and therefore contribute to defining the historic
environment of North Norfolk. (https://www.northnorfolk.gov.uk/tasks/conservation/view-conservation-area-appraisals/)

We object to the consideration of this proposal before the Hempstead Conservation Area Appraisal has been considered and completed. Any major development proposal of this size and scale in the purlieu of the All Saints Church (which will be at the very heart of the Hempstead Conservation Area), should be considered after the completion and consideration of the Hempstead Conservation Area Appraisal, in line with the stated aims of North Norfolk District Council.

All Saints Church, Hempstead is a listed building, therefore a heritage asset, which should be protected for future generations. As a designated heritage asset, it is part of an irreplaceable resource which Local Planning Authorities have a duty to conserve in a manner appropriate to their significance. The application site lies within the Hempstead conservation area. The curtilage of the church, which as a Grade 2 listed building, must evaluated in terms of impact on the listed building.

The existing agricultural buildings lie to the west of the church. They are unassuming agricultural buildings that merge with the countryside, being low profile and coloured grey. They are of a lower profile than the proposed new buildings. The new buildings will be more visible from the churchyard and will alter, forever, the nature of the environs.

Of particular concern is the proposal for a four bedroom, two-storey house in close proximity to the church, which will radically change the setting of the church. This particular house would impact on the centuries-old, and very special view of the Glaven Valley, from the churchyard. The proposed house is out of scale with the church, and with the existing historic dwelling houses around the church site.

There is no proposed access to the church, which is the focal point of Hempstead, for the proposed development. There is no demonstrated connectivity with the rest of the village.

No reason has been given why the new houses should be located so close to the church.

The plan has a designated ‘community use’ parcel of land which is not connected to the heart of the village. What is the purpose of this land? Surely the village and church would be better served by the designated ‘community use’ land being located close to the church, and allocated for parking for visitors to the village and church, with any new buildings being sited to the north of the site. It is important to note that there is no dedicated car parking in the village.

This adjustment of the proposal would give the church, our heritage asset, the space around it that it requires and would be of benefit to the whole village. It would also give any new development connectivity with the village, via a circular route.

The proposal does not give any indication of what is planned for the land closer to the site entrance located off The Street. We understand that the whole site is under the same ownership as the proposed development area. This is also of concern.

The proposal states that ‘Hempstead’s rural and historic character is one of the things that make it [Hempstead] so special’. This proposal seeks to alter the historic character of the main heritage asset of this ‘special’ village, and is therefore harmful to a heritage asset, and its immediate environs. The rural aspect that the church and churchyard currently enjoy, should be preserved for future generations.

Susan and Peter Hawkey
Church Cottage
Hempstead
NR25 6AH




15th February 2021
Robert Jones and Neil McKenna
3 Marlpit Cottages
Marlpit Lane
Hempstead
NR25 6TR

There are pleasing features for the proposed 5 dwellings on the Picken Chickenshed site. First the lower placing of the two bungalows should mean the view across wooded farmland from the cottages on the church side of the street is not much impeded, retaining the rural feel. The three two-storey houses are reasonably well-placed for this same concern. Care is being taken with building materials to tie in with our conservation area; we hope that sustainability and in particular good insulation will also feature.

Less good is the plan for the development to be an enclave. The previous (Lanpro) plan took care to integrate the development into key village sites – the church and playing field and the one footpath past the church that enables a circular village walk. Connectivity between any new development in an established village is essential – the new housing at Edgefield does this via a walking route through to the spur of houses on Rectory Road, so enabling a good circular walk connecting several parts of that village, and with all villagers in mind.

This past year of Covid lockdown has emphasised the importance of local walking for village life continuing, here at Hempstead through conversations at garden gates, queueing for the van on the green, stopping on local footpaths and in the Street to chat. The Hempstead Conservation and Appraisal document emphasises the 'scattered' nature of our village, and concerns itself with the built environment as well as its rural feel: what we need to do is ensure the human element isn't 'scattered' and that connectivity isn't lacking (as for example with The Knoll cul-de-sac). Think of children in the new development safely getting to the playing field without needing to encounter vehicles in the Street. Also adults accessing our much-visited church and churchyard, whether for its main purpose, events or simply to enjoy a walk. And the new development itself has land marked as 'Community Use' – that too needs to be accessed from more than the current one-way-in, if it's to serve any purpose.

A big question remains over how Hempstead might integrate part of the site with rentable housing, or so-called affordable. Imran has written about this, so I won't say more than that it could and should be a part of this housing opportunity, even if it takes a bit longer to plan and come to fruition.
Alison Tyabji - 14th February 2021


I understand that the Parish Council will be meeting Proworks very soon to discuss their proposal for the chicken farm site.  I welcome their wish for dialogue, and I'm sure that they will continue to return with plans until they gain the concurrence of the village. Since the gain in value of the land is so great once they get planning permission (an order of magnitude), it's very much in the land-owner's interest.  Which means that it would be excellent to influence them to design something that will benefit our community, village life, as well as their profit.  A win-win.  My view is that the design is not good enough yet.  There is time, another iteration is possible since they need us to be on side.

Sense_of_Place. In the 2020 Glaven Valley Conservation Area A&M Plans, right up front in para 1.2, it speaks of 'the quality...' residing in sense_of_place, and I think that's wise – click on the words to get more on it – it makes people happier to be in the village because 'Places said to have a strong "sense of place" have a strong identity that is deeply felt by inhabitants and visitors'.  We do well in Hempstead, for instance with our lovely church, holding the sense that it'll be here in another millennium, a symbol around which the community revolves; and the Village Hall, a meeting space of fun, art, and all sorts.  Can we do better still?  We can, I think, and I give two concrete proposals below.  But more important still is for the people of the village to create a shared VISION through our own dialogue.

Vision.   My vision of the village is of a place which is great for people at all stages:  children, old people, parents bringing up those children and working.  It implies play (for children),  good health (walking, cycling, good local food), sustainability (housing cheap to heat, well-built, zero or low-carbon), conviviality and connection for people.  Which provide comfort, safety, and add to sense of place.  As important, though, is other people's vision.  And we can influence each other and learn from each other through dialogue.  Hence my wish for a shared vision for the village, catalysed by dialogue, which can be helped by the Parish Council and the Village Hall.

Connectivity.   Previously, the Lanpro plan had a path from their site directly to the church and therefore to the playing field and footpath, and to this side of the village.  That plan also gave a circular walking and cycling route around the village, excellent for the Life of the Village, for conviviality, for community.  They should include that access again.  In my view it would make a big difference. Conversely making the development an enclave is bad for community and the Life of the Village.

Affordability / Social Enterprise.   People in the village worry that it's not affordable for the children born and bred here, and for those like them.  I agree – my sense of this place is that it's not just for people like my wife Alison (born in Holt, bred in Thornage and who left for work), it's also for those who never went.  It's possible to make that happen.  For instance, Broadland is a social enterprise that has a development at Edgefield with 'affordable' dwellings for locals and at Fulmodeston, showing how to build for high sustainability.  I don't know enough to recommend them, only that this shows it is possible.  Can we ask the Proworks plan to take note and follow suit?

To sum up, the development has the potential to improve the village's sense of place, by adding to its small population and improving the life of the community. This happens through good connectivity and avoiding an enclave, and by providing affordable housing via a social enterprise; and, further, it happens if the plans for the village involve more of its people.
Imran Tyabji - 14th February 2021


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