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NNDC Hempstead Conservation
Chicken Site Development

The comments below represent the personal views of the attributed writers

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.  In the meantime the next meeting of the Parish Council will take place on Monday 3 March and will be accessible via a zoom link.

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. (

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
NR25 6AH

15th February 2021
Robert Jones and Neil McKenna
3 Marlpit Cottages
Marlpit Lane
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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