Our proposed layout for Hethersett Phase 1 (Heather Gardens)
How the new homes could look
This first phase of development aims to respond sensitively to its immediate surroundings and the village of Hethersett itself, whilst at the same time creating a strong sense of place with its own identity. A number of detailed character assessments have informed the proposals over time and, as a result, five individual character areas are proposed throughout the Masterplan, each with their own individual architectural style, delivered through sympathetic use of traditional materials. Two of these character areas – Countryside View and Village Heart – are proposed for Phase 1.
The proposed new homes look to replicate some of the more prominent features found within the local area and positively respond to existing styles and cues. Furthermore, varying roof lines, roof forms and pitches, coupled with a range of storey heights and differing elevational treatments all add to the success of the proposed street scene.
A blend of traditional cottage-style dwellings predominantly of red brick with a variety of coloured renders and weather-boarding. Roof forms comprise a dominance of gables finished with red, brown and slate grey plain or pantiles. Timber elements look to reinforce the cottage style further.
A traditional urban feel through the use of Georgian styles and influences. Roofs are predominantly eaves-fronted and finished in slate or darker tones. Facing brickwork consists of the widespread use of red or orange brick. Occasional render is used sparingly and door canopies are generally flat and supplemented with vertical elements.
The site is essentially flat and comprises a number of agricultural fields interspersed with trees, hedgerows and some woodland blocks. A number of small ponds are scattered through the site. Views from the site are to the northern residential edge of Hethersett, high voltage overhead lines, Little Melton Food Park and the wider countryside. Views into the site are mainly from properties along Back Lane and neighbouring highways which run through and around the boundary of the site. Our landscape strategy includes the creation of a green buffer between the built development and the wider countryside, while the green strategic gap along Colney Lane will be retained. The majority of existing landscape features will be retained, including a number of individual oak trees, hedgerows and broadleaf woodland. The boundaries of the site will be enhanced with a woodland buffer which will help to soften views into the site. The existing hedgerows and trees will be used to create ecological corridors and habitats for wildlife as well as access for pedestrians. The coniferous woodland in the centre of the site is considered to be of low value and is proposed to be removed and replaced with a community orchard and large area of public open space. A community woodland is to be created in the eastern part of the site within the Green Gateway along with a nature play trail.
Our landscape strategy for Hethersett North creates a variety of multi-functional, biodiverse, attractive green spaces set within the existing landscape framework, providing opportunities for play and recreation along with the enhancements of wildlife habitats.
The green spaces around the residential areas create a network of public spaces within the scheme with focal features such as the existing enhanced woodland, local equipped area for play and attenuation basins. The green corridors create safe and accessible links for users through the scheme from the Southern Greenway to the Northern Greenway via the Green Centre. Tree, shrub and meadow grassland planting help to link to spaces whilst creating a soft transition between the built form and the public open space with key views and gateways defined with focal trees. Streets will be greened with trees, grassed verges and planting.
Village Heart and Countryside View
The design principles for the Village Heart and Countryside View residential areas aim to create a strong sense of place with the street design and on-plot landscaping. The on-plot planting palette includes swathes of ornamental grasses with pastel tones of herbaceous planting with bulbs to create seasonal interest with colour, texture and form.
Ecology surveys have been undertaken at the Hethersett North site since 2010, covering habitats, protected species and other groups such as invertebrates. The species on the site are typical of Norfolk farmland with small numbers of birds such as skylark, yellowhammer and whitethroat, and eight species of bat. Great crested newts are only in a small number of off-site ponds, rather than on the site itself. As part of the masterplan and later design phases, impacts on habitats and species have been considered and avoided as far as possible. Next to the north-west corner is the Beckhithe Meadow County Wildlife Site, and to provide a buffer the land next to this will be green space with wildflower and shrub planting, and an attenuation pond will also provide wetland habitat. Across the wider site area the masterplan contains corridors of habitat to allow movements of animals across the site and connecting the key wildlife areas. These corridors are mostly along existing hedgerows in conjunction with new landscaping of shrubs and wildflower grassland, but there will also be new links created across what are now arable fields. The species expected to use these including great crested newts, and some important species of bats and birds.
Highways and transport
A Transport Assessment was submitted as part of the outline planning application for the Hethersett North masterplan, in line with all national, regional and local planning policy guidance. The site is considered to be sustainably located and the additional infrastructure that will be implemented as a part of the development proposals for the overall site will further promote the use of public transport and non-car travel. Access locations to the overall development will be via a new junction off Colney Lane at the eastern boundary, a new junction off Back Lane/Churchfields at the southern boundary, Little Melton Road in the centre of the site and Great Melton Road/New Road at the south western boundary. The western half of Back Lane will be converted to a shared foot/cycleway and Burnthouse Lane will be incorporated into the spine road network while still allowing heavy vehicle access to the industrial development to the north. A thorough assessment of the predicted traffic flow increase from the development and other sources up to 2026 has been conducted as part of the outline application. This demonstrates that the existing local road network can accommodate the predicted future traffic to be generated by the development, as long as improvements to the following junctions are completed:
- B1172 Norwich Road/Colney Lane junction
- B1108 Watton Road/Hethersett Lane Junction
- Thickthorn interchange
Foul water drainage will discharge to a series of on-site pumping stations via a gravity pipe network, ultimately discharging via a new rising main to the Yare Valley Trunk Sewer and Whitlingham Sewage Treatment Works, which Anglian Water confirms has available capacity to treat the foul flows from the proposed development.
Flood risk and surface water drainage
A Flood Risk Assessment was submitted as part of the outline planning application for the Hethersett North masterplan, in accordance with national, regional and local planning policy guidance. The site is wholly located within Flood Zone 1, which is at little or no risk of flooding from tidal sources or from rivers/watercourses. Our surface water strategy consists of a network of underground pipes and above-ground swales which will collect surface water at source and direct it to a series of large balancing lagoons located across the site to suit the phasing of the development. The balancing lagoons have been strategically placed to store excess flows from the development and ensure that existing levels of surface water run off are maintained. Existing watercourses within the site are believed to be tributaries of the River Yare and are currently receiving the greenfield run off from the site.
A programme of archaeological investigation will be conducted prior to the construction of the proposed residential development. Due to the known archaeological potential of the area associated with the prehistoric, Roman and early medieval periods, Norfolk County Council requires that initial archaeological fieldwork take place, in the form of an evaluation, in order to establish the location, age and character of any archaeological remains present. The evaluation will consist of the machine excavation of a series of narrow trenches across key areas of the site by a team of professional archaeologists, with any archaeological features identified hand excavated and all artefacts collected for specialist assessment. If any significant concentrations of archaeological remains are discovered, then the archaeological team will return to investigate these areas in more detail.