The field is now formally open to the public. The City Council has consulted YVS about the plans for the field, and on the design of an interpretation board, and possible waymarking signs. Work on these matters continues. Sign design is being considered that could eventually be used for waymarking the whole of the Yare Valley Walk. A variation of the design could be used to identify circular walks based on with the Valley Walk.
We have already reported on the approval by South Norfolk District Council of the Keswick Triangle Employment Zone. The development situated at it is in the Yare Valley close to Harford Bridge was very unwelcome and we submitted written objections. We have now had an opportunity to look at the details of the approval and the conditions attached. They confirm significant progress has been made towards mitigating the worst impacts of the development.
We argued for all of the traffic on the Mulbarton Road to be diverted via a proposed new roundabout on the Mulbarton Road and a proposed new four-way Tesco traffic light junction. The section of the road between the new roundabout and the existing vee junction with the Ipswich Road could then have been closed to all but local access traffic. This would have provided opportunities for imaginative landscaping of the road to create a buffer between the Yare Valley marshes and the development. Unfortunately, under the new proposals traffic travelling towards Norwich will still have the option to use this section, but at least the level of traffic should be reduced. More positively, a buffer zone will be provided by woodland planting along the west side of the Mulbarton Road between the track to the small Keswick church and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust wetlands. A conservation field margin will border the woodlands.
We argued for improved facilities for non-motorised users along the Mulbarton Road and kept Norwich Cycle Campaign informed of our views and objections. They submitted comments and objections that complimented ours. (Some of the early plans ignored cyclists needs almost entirely.) The proposals now include a 3.3 m wide footway/cycleway along the west side of Mulbarton road between Harford Bridge (approximately) and Mulbarton Road/Low Road (to Keswick Village) junction. The footway/cycleway will complete a safe circular route for walkers and cyclists: incorporating Church Lane, Keswick Mill, Keswick bridleway, the new footway/cycleway, Ipswich Road and Marsden Lane. It will also give safe access to the tiny Keswick All iSaints Church – an interesting detour.
We continue to hold the view that this is the wrong development for this location. At least we can feel that our representations along with those of others have lessened the impact of the development and have achieved some positive gains for the recreational users and wildlife of the Yare Valley over and above what might have been.
Go to our planning page for details of where to find the approved plans.