The 5.5 hectare site is proposed for housing for the over 55s including retirement housing and may include assisted living and/or extra care housing. This site is the area within the solid red line on the map below and shown on the Policies map. The site is mainly brownfield, being currently occupied by Bartram Mowers’ garden machinery, sales and repair business, along with a single storey building used as a nursery school, parking areas and hard standings for former greenhouses, as it was previously used for market gardening.
Bartram Mowers ownership extends to 23 hectares between Bluebell Road and the River Yare. The remainder of the Bartram Mowers owned land is shown for information as the area within the red dotted line on the site plan below, though only the site allocation itself is shown on the Policies map.
Bluebell Road is to the north-east, with low density housing on the northern side, directly opposite the site. There are four dwellings south-west of Bluebell Road directly neighbouring the development site.
Adjoining land in the Yare Valley is undeveloped, consisting of grazed fields of undulating topography to the north and fen adjacent to the River Yare to the west.
There are a number of well-defined hedges, tree belts and groups of trees across the site, with a large tree belt with many mature trees adjacent to the A11 Newmarket Road dual carriageway to the south of the site.
A footpath runs west from Bluebell Road to the north of the site linking to the Yare Valley Walk which follows the river. There is currently no public access to the remainder of the Bartram Mowers owned land.
Site R45 has been allocated for housing for the over 55s. This may include assisted living and/or extra care housing. This form of housing meets a local and city wide need. Eaton has a significantly higher proportion of elderly residents than other parts of the city and there is an identified shortage of such housing in Norwich. In addition, such housing will have a reduced transport impact on the area at peak times.
The site is on the slopes of the Yare Valley which is identified under JCS policy 1 as a key green infrastructure corridor, providing both public access to the river and countryside along the Yare Valley Walk and important wildlife habitats. Open space neighbouring the site is protected from development as part of the Yare Valley under policy DM6 and as open space under policy DM8.
Therefore it is essential that development is sensitively designed to minimise effects on important views to and within the Yare Valley. Consequently the type, scale, density and design of housing development will be determined by a masterplan which will assess how the development can best be designed to minimise impact on the landscape and preserve the character of the area. The masterplan must also ensure that development will complement the site’s role as a gateway to the city given its close proximity to the A11 and will cover the layout of the open space.
Whilst the scale of development on the site will be determined by the masterplan, for the purposes of calculating the Site allocations plan’s contribution to the JCS housing requirement an assumption has been made that the site will deliver in the region of 120 dwellings. This figure is based on an assumption that the site will be developed mainly at low densities to ensure that impact on the landscape is minimised.
The remainder of the site within Bartram Mowers’ ownership, excluding the County Wildlife Site in the fen area, is proposed to become publically accessible open space, with improved pedestrian and cycle access and improvements to the Yare Valley Walk. Development proposals for the allocated site will include the provision of a new footpath from Bluebell Road to the River Yare close to the A11 Newmarket Road embankment and tree belt.
Development must minimise impact on the fens to the west. This area forms an important habitat, consisting of fen vegetation, grazing marshes, drainage dykes, alder and willow. Bartram Mowers have recently entered into a ten year management agreement with Natural England for the whole of their site (17.5 hectares) not proposed for development. To protect wildlife, no additional public access should be created to the fen area apart from the new footpath close to the A11.
A management plan for the open space will be provided. Arrangements for the management and future maintenance of the public open space and the protected lines of view across the site in perpetuity will be the subject of a legal agreement with the council.
Both the development masterplan and the management plan will be produced by the developers in consultation with the council. The brief for this work will be produced by the council. The plans will be informed by a full landscape assessment, a visual impact assessment, topographical and levels surveys and an ecological survey.
The existing road access onto Bluebell Road should be used to serve the development, with an additional access to the east if necessary.
The allocated site is being promoted by its owner and is suitable and available for development within the plan period.
POLICY R42: Land west of Bluebell Road, Bartram Mowers Limited – housing development (over 55s)
The site of 5.5 hectares is allocated for development of a housing scheme for the over 55s, which may include assisted-living and/or extra care housing.
The development will be designed to:
- minimise impact on the landscape of the Yare Valley and important views;
- improve the strategic Yare Valley green infrastructure corridor, providing 17.5 hectares of public open space on land adjoining the site shown on the site plan below with a red dotted line. The public open space will provide improved pedestrian/cycle access to and within the valley, including improvements to the Yare Valley Walk. A management plan will be produced for the open space by the developer. A legal agreement will cover arrangements for the future management and maintenance of the open space in perpetuity;
- protect and enhance environmental assets within and adjacent to the site, including retaining tree belts.
In order to ensure that the setting and character of the site are respected and to minimise impact on the landscape and important views, proposals will accord with an agreed masterplan produced by the developer following a brief set by the council, covering the development site and adjacent open space. The masterplan will identify the precise areas within which development will be located, maximum building heights, the number and type of dwellings and the layout of the open space.
The masterplan and the management plan for the open space will be informed by:
- a full landscape assessment;
- a visual impact assessment;
- topographical and levels surveys;
- an ecological survey.