Housing plans involving campaigner who fought to protect beauty spot spark local opposition

Paul Walmsley, who has previously campaigned against housing plans near to Neatherd Moor in Dereham.

Paul Walmsley, who has previously campaigned against housing plans near to Neatherd Moor in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A campaigner who has spent years fighting against housing plans near a Dereham beauty spot is now involved in an appeal to bring three bungalows to the area.

Neatherd Moor in Dereham. Picture: ARCHANT.

Neatherd Moor in Dereham. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Archant © 2009

The proposals to build the housing on land to the west of Windmill Avenue were submitted by Mid Norfolk Bungalows, on land owned by Paul Walmsley.

The land has woodland to the west of the site which forms part of Neatherd Moor, which was designated as a County Wildlife Site in 2013.

The plans were rejected by Breckland Council's planning committee due to concerns it 'would have a detrimental impact on the natural character and appearance of the immediate vicinity' but an appeal has been lodged.

A campaign called Save The Neatherd Moor was set up by Mr Walmsley to fight against Taylor Wimpey's plans to build 62 homes next to the Moor, which were approved in May last year.

In an interview with this newspaper in 2015, Mr Walmsley said: 'Neatherd Moor is listed among the most valuable nature habitats in Norfolk.

'I know people need somewhere to live but there are lots of better places to put them. At the moment we fight quite a battle because planning laws are against us but in 10 years time people will ask 'how did they allow that to happen?''

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Strong opposition has now been voiced against the plans to build the three bungalows from local residents and Dereham Town Council.

Both Mr Walmsley and planning agent EJW Planning were contacted for comment but neither wished to say any more on the matter until the appeal was decided on.

In a statement, Dereham Town Council said: 'Due to the location of the site it would be a great loss to both visual amenity and the setting of the Common with loss of wildlife habitat if development is permitted and the trees are subsequently removed or significantly reduced.'

Residents have also registered objections on the Breckland Council website, with one stating: 'There are already problems with flooding during heavy rain when sewage comes up through the manholes in our properties' and another said: 'The application shows the total disregard of the disruption, disturbance, inconvenience and danger for the residents of Windmill Avenue.'

Another added: 'The common is needed more by the town for its biodiversity as the community grows, this proposal threatens it in a gratuitous way.'