Because a high-profile planning application for the former station site on Station Road had been received, it was decided to hold an extraordinary meeting of Reepham Town Council on 1 August to give residents an opportunity to make their comments to local councillors.
The application is for the building of a residential and nursing care complex, a small office block and a convenience store on the largely brownfield site previously occupied by the station goods yard and the station approach.
A large number of local residents attended the meeting and expressed views ranging from support to opposition to the scheme.
While it was recognised that the station area, being a brownfield site, is suitable for development, strong reservations were expressed about the size of buildings forming the nursing and care home parts of the development, which would be considerably taller and larger than the existing houses on Stony Lane immediately opposite.
Concerns about the loss of trees and hedgerows on the site were registered, particularly as the hedgerow bordering Stony Lane would be removed along virtually the entire length of the site to enable the road to be widened.
Reservations were also expressed about the impact the development would have on local services, in particular the doctors’ surgery, and on possible noise and light pollution from the care complex and convenience store.
Having heard residents comments, councillors agreed that, while they supported the application in principle, they would like to see many of the areas of concern addressed by the developer, including: either a reduction in height of the care and nursing homes or their relocation to a more suitable part of the site; the impact on local services to be assessed; access to Marriott’s Way to be protected; the question of noise and light pollution from the development to be addressed; and protection for the existing businesses within the site.
Subject to a sensitive reduction in the number of trees, councillors did not object to the removal of poor-quality trees and hedging.
The Town Council’s comments were made to Broadland District Council and we understand that the application will be dealt with by the Planning Committee later this autumn, when local residents will be able to make their representations in person.
New town councillor co-opted
Owing to the small number of councillors available and the unavoidable absence of two councillors, we were in the position of being inquorate for the September meeting.
While we had already received an application for co-option to the council, we would have been unable to proceed because of the small number of councillors present.
However, following consultation with Broadland District Council, it was agreed that we could commence the meeting with only three members and, when the new member had been co-opted, could continue business as normal, provided this process was announced at the beginning of the meeting; Robert Taylor was co-opted as a new town councillor.
While we now have six councillors we are still short of our full complement of 12 and we continue to seek more volunteers who would like to serve the community.
The duties of a town councillor are not onerous, the main requirement being to attend 11 meetings a year, held on the second Wednesday of every month (except August), and to respond to emails forwarded through the town clerk.
Meetings usually take no longer than 90 minutes, often considerably less. Over and above this basic requirement, councillors may involve themselves in other aspects of the Council’s work that may be of particular interest to them or for which they may be suitably qualified.
Town Council and Stimpson’s Piece Trustee meeting: 10 October
Town Hall Management Committee meeting: 7 November
Town Council and Stimpson’s Piece Trustee meeting: 14 November
All meetings to be held in the Town Hall, Church Street, Reepham, commencing at 7.30 pm.