12:30 PM July 18, 2022
A new housing development could be built on the thin strip of remaining countryside between Wymondham and Hethersett.
Developers want to put up five homes on fields on the north east fringe of the town, close to the B1172 which connects it to neighbouring Hethersett.
The new properties, if they are approved by councillors, will become the closest Wymondham houses to Hethersett and mean that the two communities would be separated by just 750m.
The gap between the two has closed significantly over recent years, as both have undergone extensive development, which has put pressure on local services.
The new scheme, on a 2.7 acre site just north of the Elm Farm Business Park, also includes plans for a new dental practice to help meet the high level of local demand.
A planning statement submitted to South Norfolk Council (SNC) said: “The proposal will deliver a new dental practice in an area where access to NHS dentistry is vastly underprovided.
“Access to dental care is one of the most significant issues being raised by people nationwide.
“In particular, the most vulnerable at risk are missing out on treatments and there are reports that some practices are forcing parents to go private to open up NHS care for their children.”
The dentists is expected to be operated by Peppermint Dental Care, which has written in support of the plan.
Peppermint already has a practice in Wymondham but said its books are closed, with a waiting list of at least 300 patients requiring a dentist.
In December 2021, Healthwatch Norfolk said the issue had become so severe there were reports of people removing their own teeth in the county.
Recently, Norfolk and Waveney MPs have taken up the cause, pushing for a new dentistry school at the UEA, with the hope that people trained in the area will stay local.
The dental practice is expected to complement plans for a new GP surgery on the business park, which formed part of a previous planning application.
THE GROWTH OF ‘WYM-SETT’
Both Wymondham and Hethersett have undergone significant expansion in recent years.
The growth of Wymondham, in particular, can be clearly seen along the B1172 corridor – the road which runs to Hethersett and passes Kett’s Oak, the location associated with the 1549 rebellion by Wymondham man Robert Kett.
New developments are gradually closing the gap between the two communities, and the process looks set to continue.
By 2038, Wymondham is scheduled to accommodate a further 2,600 new homes – the most of anywhere in the South Norfolk Council area.
In October last year, Wymondham’s mayor Kevin Hurn warned the town was getting towards “saturation point”.
In 2015, South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said it was crucial that Wymondham not be “swamped by a level of growth that could choke it and spoil the very qualities that make it such an attractive place to live and work”.
Wymondham High Academy has been expanded – to provide an extra 375 places for pupils.
And a new 420-place primary school is earmarked for nearby Silfield.
But other infrastructure is also under pressure. Anglian Water will need to increase capacity at the town’s water recycling centre to serve growth.