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 Eight of Ten EDP articles about the housing plan

“Norfolk low-cost homes builder puts Scarning case again

Government approval was ought yesterday for a project to provide low-price homes in Norfolk for those in need and those who want to move out of congested areas.
The idea is that of Mr. David Potter, a Dereham builder, who proposes to build 107 houses or bungalows, together with sewage disposal works, water works and a swimming pool, on a 164-acre site at Podmore, Scarning, near Dereham.
A proposal on similar lines was rejected by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government two years ago after a public inquiry. The plan was the subject of another inquiry in Norwich yesterday when Mr. Potter appealed against the County Council’s refusal to permit the development.

Similar Schemes

Mr. F. Horfield, who appeared for the appellant, said the aim was to produce houses at low cost and in circumstances in which speculation would be reduced to a minimum.
It was felt that the conclusions of the inspector, who conducted the previous inquiry, were based on some misunderstanding as to the nature of the project.
He referred to schemes which Mr. Potter had developed at Quebec Hall and Eckling Grange at Dereham and said the one at Podmore would be on similar lines, although the houses would be larger.
It was not the intention that the houses should he occupied by one particular age group. But there would be two wardens’ houses so that those living on their own or the infirm could summon help if needed.

Great Advance

Mr. Horfield said he proposal was a great advance on many schemes provided by local authorities.
Answering a planning objection that the site was remote from development, he said Scarning stretched for three miles along the main road and the nucleus of development was the church, village hall and public house.
“This, in a sense, is a new village.” He said.
Mrs. Ruby Wright, chairman of Scarning Parish Council, said the Council welcomed the proposal, which would inject new life into the village.
Letters from Mr. Paul Hawkins, M.P. for South-West Norfolk, and his predecessor, Mr Albert Hilton, both supporting Mr. Potter’s proposal, were handed to the inspector. “It seems an admirable project that should be welcomed,” wrote Mr. Hawkins.
Presenting the case for the County Council. Mr. J. Heath said that from the planning aspect, the site could not be more wrong for the development.
It was isolated from an existing community and served by roads which were totally inadequate for the traffic likely to use it. It would be expensive to widen the roads to anything like by-law widths.

Low Lying

The site was also low-lying and often waterlogged. “We take the view that development of this sort should be adjacent to existing development either at Dereham or some other village.” he said.
There was no reason to doubt the sincerity of the appellant, but it was difficult to appreciate what sort of persons Mr. Potter envisaged as occupants of the houses.
It seemed fairly certain there would be more middle-aged or elderly people and the inspector might have some misgivings on whether those people should be all accommodated in the same area.

The Minister’s decision will be announced later.”

Published on Thursday 10 Dec 1964 by the Eastern Daily Press.

Download a full scale PDF version of the EDP page  – 10th December 1964 – this is highly recommended as it allows you to read all the other fascinating stories, particularly articles discussing  new “continental-style” road signs, nuisance cold-callers and shortages of bricks preventing house building.

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