Village wants affordable homes

RESIDENTS of a village where a generation of young people have been “lost” during the past 20 years are calling for a small number of affordable homes to be built.

By David Green

RESIDENTS of a village where a generation of young people have been “lost” during the past 20 years are calling for a small number of affordable homes to be built.

Householders at Worlingworth - consulted during the formation of a parish action plan - have also given the thumbs down to further major development.

The village population has grown significantly over the past two decades as estates of middle class “executive” homes have been built.

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However, the younger members of local families have had to move away in order to find affordable homes to rent or buy.

The call for the building of a small number of energy efficient “affordable” homes is one of the recommendations in a parish action plan based on responses to a 34-page questionnaire delivered to each household.

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There was an 84% response to the initiative, which began in 2004, and the final report has now been published.

Other recommendations include the extension of the 30 mph speed limit and the enhancement of safety measures around the village school by the introduction of a 20 mph zone and installation of flashing warning lights.

Greater use of the school and community centre by local interest groups is also called for together with the development of circular footpaths and twice-a-year community litter pick-up events.

Rosemary Ingate, parish council chairman, said residents wanted a halt to major development over the next ten years.

She added: “The price and nature of houses built in the past two decades means that we have lost a young generation out of the village.

“We have had more families moving in, which has been good for the school, which was under risk at one time, but we have been unable to keep the young people who were born and bred here.”

Mrs Ingate said ultimately unsuccessful bids by land owners in 1992 to have new areas allocated for housing would have added a further 300 to the village population and people did not want this to happen.

Existing services and facilities were incapable of supporting another large influx.

“We have to try to achieve a balance and while people do not want any more major development they are quite happy for small-scale in-filling between existing houses,” Mrs Ingate added.

Other recommendations in the action plan, copies of which have been sent to all households, include the setting up of a village web-site and continued support for the village pub, The Swan.

Keith Wilson, chairman of the steering group which developed the parish plan, said: “The strength of any community is in its willingness to help each other and hopefully this Parish Plan will really invigorate this parish in the years to come.”

The plan was formally launched at a short ceremony attended by local MP, Sir Michael Lord, and district councillor, Paul Debenham.

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