Royal Norwich sale for housing agreed

10 September 2008 Respond to this article

Royal Norwich sale for housing agreed

10th September 2008

Members of The Royal Norwich Golf Club vote to sell golf course and move to nearby Weston Park then spend £7m on upgrade

Up to 600 homes could be built on the site of a historic Norfolk golf club after its members voted to sell up and move.

Members of the Royal Norwich Golf Club, in Hellesdon, voted in favour of selling the 120-acre site to property developer Goymour Homes.

This would pave the way for a move of some 10 miles to Weston Park Golf Club, which Goymour already owns, and a £7m upgrade there. The new club would then take the combined membership and be known as the Royal Norwich Golf Club.

Planners and councillors yesterday reserved judgment on the housing development off Drayton High Road until detailed applications were submitted, but stressed the need to address issues such as increased traffic and the impact of new homes on the local infrastructure.

John Brown, from the 115-year-old Royal Norwich Golf Club, said the development in Weston Longville would "set the scene for the 21st century".

The move was backed at Tuesday's meeting of Royal Norwich members who voted 239 to 45 in favour.

Simon Lee, operations director of Goymour, said: "The Weston site gives the Royal Norwich the opportunity to extend from an 18-hole course to 27 or 36 championship holes, to create a championship course which would probably be a national destination."

He said Goymour planned to submit an application to Broadland District Council to build 500-600 new homes on the Hellesdon site, with about 35-40pc being affordable homes. If successful, it could be between two to five years before work starts on the new homes.

"We understand there will be a need for some open and recreational space and of course that will be included in our plans," said Mr Lee.

Phil Courtier, head of development, management and conservation at Broadland Council, said that while the site was currently out of the settlement limit for Hellesdon and was classed as an area of landscape value, permission for the develop-ment might be granted because of increased housing need.

"We acknowledge a need for significant housing growth in the Norwich area. We need to be convinced the scheme could be carried out without putting undue pressure on the area and its infrastructure," he added.

"There are going to be issues with the highway network and maybe with regards to water. With a development on this scale there would have to be a substantial contribution to local education, although I cannot foresee a new school being built."

Peter Balcombe, Broadland councillor for Hellesdon south east, said: "Hellesdon is getting more built up than parts of the city, so this development is a matter which concerns me. We haven't seen detailed plans but I am concerned about any building in that area because the Drayton High Road is already overloaded with traffic."

Both Shelagh Gurney, Norfolk county councillor for Hellesdon and Broadland councillor for Hellesdon north west, and Tony Adams, councillor for Hellesdon south east, said they wanted to wait until they saw the housing plans before commenting. Mrs Gurney said she would then seek the views of local people, perhaps through a survey or public meeting.

She added: "It is a very pleasant green space and a lot of residents have told me they would like to retain it. There is a lot to consider - the impact on residents and services such as the schools and doctors, and the impact of additional traffic."

Tom Gasson, Broadland councillor for Hellesdon north west, said: "I do not think a lot of residents will be very happy. It remains to see what the detailed planning application is. The main impact is the traffic situation on the A1067. I hope there will be a lot of recreational land in the development."

The Royal Norwich Golf Club was founded in 1893 and royal patronage was granted in the same year by the Duke of York who in 1910 became King George V.

By: Emma Knights - EDP24