Sustainable links to the Yare Valley

A planning application has been submitted to Norwich City Council for the Carrow Works, King Street, Norwich.

You can view everything submitted as part of the application online on the Carrow Works Norwich City Council website.

Public comment on the application should be made before 15th September 2023. You can comment in the following ways:
online at by searching for application number 22/00879/F
or by email

The Yare Valley Society has an interest in this application because of the development’s outstanding potential to deliver safe means of sustainable travel from some large residential areas of Norwich to and from the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor (GISC), and, in particular, to and from the Whitlingham Country Park.

Cycling and walking routes in the development, properly implemented, should reduce vehicular traffic in the GISC. The resulting reduction in noise and pollution should benefit the wellbeing of wildlife and of all who use the GISC for informal recreation.

The Society will be putting the case that, in the interest of safety of walkers and cyclists, and to best encourage a modal shift to sustainable people movement, the cycling routes should (a) be segregated from the walking routes, and (b) follow the recommendations contained in the Department for Transport, publication Cycle Infrastructure Design LTN 1/20 July 2020.

Please give your support to the parts of the application which will improve walking and cycling to and from the Yare Valley corridor.

Development proposed in Yare Valley Corridor

Planning applications have been submitted to Norwich City Council, South Norfolk District Council, and Broadland District Council for the development of the Deal Ground at Bracondale. The Yare Valley Society is concerned about any development that could impact on the effectiveness of the Yare Valley green corridor, from Bawburgh Lakes to Whitlingham Country Park, in its roles of sustaining biodiversity, combatting and mitigating the effects of climate change, and providing a green space for informal recreation.

The Application Number for Norwich is 23/00774/RM. The proposal is for “Reserved Matters of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of outline planning permission 12/00875/O ‘Outline planning application (full details of access) for a mixed development consisting of a maximum of 670 dwellings; a local centre comprising commercial uses (A1/A2/A3): a restaurant/dining quarter and public house (A3/A4); demolition of buildings on the May Gurney site (excluding the former public house); an access bridge over the River Yare; new access road; car parking; flood risk management measures; landscape measures inc earthworks to form new swales and other biodiversity enhancements including the re-use of the Grade II Listed brick Kiln for use by bats.”

“The Consultation Expiry Date is 12 August 2023”

You can view comments from the public and other consultees as they are added to the application file throughout the assessment process on the council’s planning website. Search for application number 23/00774/RM and select the Comments tab. You can use the same website to make your own comments, or you can make them by email to

To view the application made to Broadland and South Norfolk Council please visit their planning website and search for application number 2023/1825

The Yare Valley Society will be examining the application carefully, and will respond as appropriate, particularly in relation to:

Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor and Parkway.

It will look for an easing of the pinch point in the valley green corridor at Lord Boswell’s Green. The pinch point section has recently been further degraded by the removal of mature trees along the drainage channel between the Green and the development. To what extent will the proposals compensate for this damage?

County Wildlife Site

The present County Wildlife Site is outside of the development area. To what extent will the integrity of the wildlife site be protected? How might its biodiversity be improved? How might public access be restricted to safeguard wildlife?

Pedestrian and cyclist links through the site

How might the pedestrian and cycle links through the site contribute to the long-term aim of a Yare Valley Walk from Bawburgh Lakes to Whitlingham Country Park. Will there be a link over Yare linking the development to the Whitlingham Country Park? How will it link with the cycling and walking routes into the City?


Will the development increase or decrease the likelihood of flooding upstream and downstream in the Wensum and the Yare? What safeguards are being put in place?

Please have a look at this application and comment on the proposals, perhaps bearing in mind the questions raised above, as well as your own questions.

River Path Improvements Revised

A new planning application, 23/00082/D, is a revision of improvements to part of the Yare Valley Walk from the present improved path near the Strawberry Field to the Flyover. At the flyover the improvements will link with the recently completed Cringleford Meadow paths. The work is to satisfy a condition laid upon Phase 2 of the McCarthy Stone development. The application is a modified form of the original application, which was announced in the News page on August 2022, and now replaces it. The plans are to be found by searching using the reference number at the Norwich Planning Portal.

Another Planning Application for McCarthy Stone Bluebell Road site.

Planning application for hole in the ground “Pond” reduces public green space

Another application, 22/01567/F, has been made relating to the McCarthy Stone phase 3 development on Bluebell Road. The application is for enlarging the attenuation pond constructed for water runoff of phases 1 and 2 to cope with phase 3. The use of “pond” although not technically incorrect may give a misleading picture of what is being proposed. Attenuation ponds for developments can be unsightly and potentially dangerous. An attenuation pond in a public access green space linked into the projected Yare Valley Parkway should be more than a hole in the ground. It should be safe and add to the amenity of the open space rather than detract from it.

Existing Attenuation Pond for phases 1 and 2.

The Yare Valley Society has several concerns about the proposals:

Restriction of public green space

The pond extension as positioned would further restrict the Public Access Green Space being made available under phase 2 of the development (now under construction). It should be a separate pond contained within the original Phase 3 development area.


Insufficient attention has been paid to measures that could reduce the size of the attenuation pond e.g. by a greater use of water permeable surfaces of drives, roads and parking areas etc., and by use of rainwater harvesting (e.g., rainwater tubs, rain gardens) within the site.

Design and Planting

Insufficient attention has been given to its design and planting. It is a large feature in a public green space and so itshould be sculpted to create a natural setting. It should then be planted with trees, shrubs and other plants to improve visual appearance, provide safe public access, and provide habitats for wildlife.

Water Quality

It is not clear what steps are to be taken to ensure the water entering the pond is of sufficiently good quality to avoid hazard to wildlife or to the public.


A Management Regime will need to be put in place to maintain and improve biodiversity, amenity, and water quality of the attenuation pond into the future.

What is possible?

The attenuation pond is a SUD (Sustainable Drainage System), and modern designs for SUDs in public green spaces maximise the potential for SUDs to contribute to the ecology and amenity of their surroundings. Key design principles for SUDS can be found on p 11 of the RSPB publication “Sustainable Drainage Systems – Maximising the potential for people and wildlife” . The publication shows what is possible with foresight and planning.

If you share the YVS concerns, please respond to this application by going to the Norwich Planning website, and inserting the reference 22/01567/F for details. Please make clear in your response why a properly designed and sited attenuation pond is important to you personally. Please act ASAP.

The Yare Valley Society’s submission on the application is here.

McCarthy Stone Bartram’s phase 3 planning application

McCarthy Stone have submitted a planning application for phase 3 of the Bartram’s Mowers development on Bluebell Road. The proposals are for the “demolition of existing buildings, erection of 23 No. bungalows, 74 No. apartments, ancillary communal facilities, landscaping, access and associated works.” This is a slight reduction on the number of bungalows in their previous (withdrawn) application for phase 3. The planning reference is 22/01447/F.

YVS are examining the proposals, and intend to comment; but please send in any concerns you have about this development in a sensitive area of the Yare Valley. Do previous comments you may have made still apply?

A good start point for an overall view is the “Layout Plan – Proposed” in documents dated November 15 2022. Comments should be submitted to Norwich Planning before December 29th. Please check with the Norwich Planning Department if you wish to submit comment after this date.

The Yare Valley Response to this Application is here.

McCarthy and Stone withdraw Planning Application

The McCarthy and Stone Planning Application 22/00298/F for Phase 3 of their development on Bluebell Road has been withdrawn. The Yare Valley Society strongly opposed the proposals in an ecological sensitive area of the Valley. It raised concerns about the high-density housing in an ecologically sensitive area, the unsatisfactory arrangements for the drainage of the site, and the lack of ecological gain. Concerns of other consultative bodies included access to the site, roads not to the standard for adoption, and unsatisfactory parking provision, as well as echoing concerns about drainage arrangements.

Proposed building development on Colney Hall Estate in the Yare Valley

The Colney Hall estate lies to the south of Bawburgh Lakes and west of Bowthorpe Southern Park. It is a key contributor to the landscape character and biodiversity of the Valley. Access to the estate is from the B1108 Watton Road.

An outline planning application for part of the Estate, with all matters reserved except access, has been submitted to South Norfolk District Council for a retirement living community of up to 210 extra care units with associated communal facilities, a 20 bed care home, an Innovation Centre to include; academic spaces, flexible office/ research and development spaces and administration offices and 20 student resident 6-bed flats and all matters reserved except for access.

Details of the development can be found at South Norfolk Planning by searching under reference 2022/1547.

A good start point is under the documents tab: Landscape & visual appraisal.

This is a major development on an environmentally sensitive site in the Yare Valley. The site lies outside of the areas approved for development in the Greater Norwich Local Plan. South Norfolk District Council Policies are also in force that are intended to safeguard the green landscape around Norwich, in particular Policy DM 4.5 Landscape Character and River Valleys, and Policy DM 4.6 Landscape Setting.

The Yare Valley Society committee is seriously concerned about this threat to build on the green space of the valley. The development can expect to impact on the visual landscape and biodiversity of the valley, and the effectiveness of the valley corridor in mitigating the effects of climate change (e.g. by reducing flooding downstream).

More about the development can be found in the YVS October 2022 Newsletter.

Please add your voice to that of the Yare Valley Society by writing in to South Norfolk District Council Planning Department giving your own personal view on this proposed development in the green space of the Valley.

Update: Technically the deadline for responses has now passed, but the South Norfolk Planning Department have assured YVS that comments will continue to be accepted up to the time of determination of the application. Please submit your comments ASAP.

Information about Outline Planning Applications

This is an outline planning application with all matters reserved except access. Applications of this kind can be used as a way of establishing the principle of development on a site, without committing to the precise nature of the development.

If Outline Planning Permission is granted further detail of the reserved matters must be agreed at a later stage. This means detail in the application could change, including the development’s appearance, landscaping, layout and scale. For more information see the National Planning Portal at

River Path Improvements

A welcome planning application is 22/01005/D for improving the part of the Yare Valley Walk from the present improved path near the Strawberry Field to the Flyover. At the flyover it will link with the recently completed Cringleford Meadow paths. This is to satisfy a condition laid upon Phase 2 of the McCarthy Stone development. The plans are at

A lovely stretch of the river where path will be improved

The improvement will be along one of the prettiest stretches of the Yare Valley Walk where at times in the year marsh type flowers such as water lilies, loosestrife, marsh buttercups, etc. can be found. At present it looks less than at its best due to nettles and rampant willow herb which obscure the river in many places. In the past it has been a section that is muddy and difficult in times of bad weather, the improved surface should encourage walkers to keep to the path and to avoid trampling neighbouring vegetation. Please respond to the application by 29th August 2022 if you can see where improvements to the proposals might be made.

Time to respond to McCarthy Stone Phase 3 Planning Application!

It would have been nice to report the latest planning application for the McCarthy Stone development on Bluebell Road was a model of best practice development in an ecological sensitive area. Unfortunately the proposals in the application are far from such a model.

Foreground Phase 2 development, background (beyond fence) Phase 3 site

On a first look through the application, some concerns are:

Dwelling Density

The high dwelling density of the development and its design will have a serious visual impact on the landscape of the valley and will degrade environmental assets within and adjacent to the site. The high dwelling density should be reduced.

Policy R42 of the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) envisaged the number of dwellings for the whole of the Bartram’s Site as being “… in the region of 120 dwellings. This figure is based on an assumption that the site will be developed mainly at low densities to ensure that impact on the landscape is minimised”. The GNLP aim was to “minimise impact on the landscape of the Yare Valley and important views”, and for the development to “protect and enhance environmental assets within and adjacent to the site”.

McCarthy and Stone in their latest Phase 3 application are proposing to build 100 dwellings in Phase 3 alone. These will be added to those of Phase 1 (61) and Phase 2 (50) resulting in a total of 211, almost double the number of 120 envisaged in the GNLP. These high densities can be expected to have a detrimental effect on the environment, both visually and ecologically. The proposals breach seriously the dwelling density safeguard of the GNLP.

Location, size and design of Infiltration “Pond”

(N.B. “Pond” is something of a misnomer here, since for much of the time it can be expected to be dry. Basin might be a better name)

The Public Access green space that formed part of Phase 2, should not be degraded by a the insertion of a large infiltration basin. Any such basin should be incorporated within the original site area for phase 3.

While accepting that that an infiltration basin is necessary to reduce runoff into the river and limit flooding downstream, little attention seems to be given to reducing the basin size by a greater use of water permeable surfaces of drives, parking areas etc., and by use of rainwater harvesting within the site. Further reduction in runoff could be achieved by reducing the dwelling density, by retaining more of the existing vegetation, and by increasing the area of planted green space in the proposals. At the same time the site’s ecology would be improved.

Little indication is given of the design of the “Pond”. Properly designed infiltration basins can be made available for public access, and can be planted with trees, shrubs and other plants, improving their visual appearance and providing habitats for wildlife.

Many mature and semi-mature trees will be removed from the site

Ecological Gain

The UK biodiversity is generally acknowledged as being in catastrophic decline. More needs to be done on this site to enhance biodiversity and provide some “ecological gain”

McCarthy Stone’s own Ecological Report makes a number of recommendations for ecological enhancement. These include “Removal of existing trees on site should be avoided were possible” and “Removal of the existing hedgerows on the site should be avoided where possible and kept to a minimum if unavoidable” The proposals include the removal of most of the relatively mature trees and shrubs in contradiction of Ecological Report’s recommendations. The site tree survey suggests that many trees are not perfect specimens, but they are established, (important in drought conditions), and considerably more mature than any that are likely to be planted as part of the development.

Please take a critical look at and respond to the plans at, using application number 22/00298/F and selecting the Documents tab. The Layout Plan, Tree Survey and Ecological Report are good start points. Comment by 24th August 2022.

Your comment is essential if these proposals are to be improved.

Norwich City Council Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Consultation

Norwich City Council are “seeking your feedback and ideas to inform” their Biodiversity Strategy for 2022 to 2032 and their associated Biodiversity Action Plan.

A copy of the Strategy is available at The Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor can be expected to play a key role in the strategy, linking as it does five of the eight Norwich local nature reserves. But there is also an opportunity to make suggestions as to how climate change and biodiversity decline can be tackled at a smaller scale. Your ideas can join the Big Biodiversity Conversation at

The consultation ends on Wednesday 31st August.