As proof that what goes around comes around, here is a story from sixty years ago which could easily be in today’s EDP. It is a long saga which involves a controversial proposal to build a housing estate within Scarning. It involved railway connections (North Elmham?), a retirement village (Etling Green?), and building on land prone to flooding (just about anywhere!). It was so controversial that it required appeals, public enquiries, EDP editorials and even questions in Parliament.

The land was on Podmore Lane in Scarning, but I’m not certain exactly where, so it would be wonderful if could tell more about the proposal.  Does anyone one remember the story, or perhaps your parents do? I’d love to hear more – Chris Farnham 07836 675858 Chris@FarnhamFarms.Co.UK

I’ve found ten EDP articles about “Scarning Haven” and will post one each day for…. you’ve guessed it, ten days. So keep coming back each day to read the story as it unfolds.

Part Two of Ten EDP articles about the housing plan


It was a pity that the novel housing plan conceived by a Dereham firm of builders for a country estate of small dwellings near Scarning ran into planning opposition from the start. Basically the scheme appears to be similar to the two old people’s settlements established by the same firm at Dereham. These have met a genuine need not satisfied by local authorities.

But the Scarning scheme was intended for younger people—the middle-aged seeking a haven from the noise and pressure of urban existence. We doubt if anyone would question that more houses for people of modest means are badly needed in Norfolk as elsewhere and that there are, too, quite a number of those nearing retirement who, for health reasons, would like to get away from town life. Why then could not such an imaginative plan have the blessing of the County Council instead of being rejected outright?

Dissatisfied with the decision, the developers sought the ruling of the Minister of Housing and Local Government, whose representative held a public inquiry into the project last week. The choice of an isolated site away from existing development was deliberate, the firm claimed, but it contravened the planning authority’s basic principle that houses—apart from those needed for agriculture— should be associated with an existing community. There are good reasons for this – not least the cost of bringing public services to an isolated spot. This objection had been at least partly met by the developers undertaking to provide all amenities.

Nor could any suggestion of alienating good agricultural land be sustained as the site had been described as derelict.

The objection of the county planning authority on visual amenity grounds would have been stronger if the site chosen were near a favoured beauty spot or on the coast. By no stretch of imagination could Scarning claim those advantages. Peace and country air are the chief requirements of those for whom the little settlement was to cater. The nature of the scheme is sufficiently unusual for it to be unlikely that a relaxation of the planning objection would invite a host of similar applications. Whatever the Minister’s decision on the particular site we hope that means will be found to encourage such useful types of development in the county.”

Published on Monday 13 Aug 1962 by the Eastern Daily Press.

Download a full scale PDF version of the EDP page = 13th August 1962 – this is highly recommended as it allows you to read all the other fascinating stories, including letters about a dog licence and a record pike caught in Britain, or possibly, England.