For a full list of all Public Information Notices
Caston – A View to the Future
by Brian Brooker - 15:17 on 21 February 2016
Caston – A View to the Future
In response to the Breckland Local Plan dated December 2015, Caston parish council consulted with parishioners in the village and a meeting was held to seek the views of Caston Parishioners on the way in which they would wish to see their village shaped in future.
The village of Caston is a traditional Norfolk rural village of some 480 souls. Historically it was a village providing housing for the farm workers who worked on the two main local farms, Church Farm and Chase Farm, but also on several smaller farms. At that time the village was serviced by a baker, small shop with post office, a wheelwright for cart and trap repairs and a blacksmith facility. There were three public houses.
Over the years with the modernisation and mechanisation of the farms Caston has gradually changed its shape. In recent years the village has changed to providing domestic housing for commuting workers to surrounding towns and in later years has become predominantly occupied by folk retiring from other parts of the country who have occupied newly built up-market houses priced beyond the incomes of established local inhabitants.
Nowadays the village is essentially one comprising of some farm workers and their families, retired owner occupiers, residents of folk working in surrounding towns and involved in a daily commute and a few internet based businesses which serve clients from all over the world. However the poor coverage of a Broadband internet service greatly restricts businesses of this nature. We await further information, promised in March, regarding the date of any improvement. Community buildings consist of a well used village hall, a public house and an historic parish church. There is no shopping facility and the nearest post office is in the village of Rocklands, some 2.5 miles distant.
The only regular public transport at this time is a service bus which operates between Thetford and Watton and passes through the village four time a day during the week with no service at weekends. This service is currently supported by Norfolk County Council. There is also a Flexi-Bus service.
Breckland Local Plan – December 2015 Consultation
Caston Parish Council circulated parishioners advising that the Breckland Plan was now available for consultation. The plans were made available at the regular Friday community coffee morning and were available for scrutiny and comments at the Caston Parish Council meeting held on 3rd February 2016. Much interest was shown by parishioners who were present and comments received.
It was explained that the areas of land shown in blue on the Caston map on page 166 of the document, Part 2, was land for which an interest in use for building had been expressed, not that it had been approved nor denied for building. Many parishioners were concerned that it may be implied that these areas were agreeable to the community for future development. There is great opposition to building on several of these areas which could be construed as backfilling developments and the parishioners are greatly opposed to such development.
Currently Breckland Planning has approved the building of 17 new dwellings within the village of which nine are executive type houses. While these dwellings have yet to be completed, this figure represents an increase of just under 10% of the current housing stock.
Consideration must be given to the lack of support infrastructure and poor public transport when considering planning applications.
The Future Shape of Caston Village
The parishioners are keen to ensure that the nature of Caston as a Norfolk rural village is generally unchanged and the street scene is maintained.
There is no desire for shopping or similar businesses to be established within the village.
All development should be essentially linear and the establishment of estate housing and backfill developments would be fiercely opposed. A small growth in housing stock through individual houses on individual plots is envisaged provided the current street scene is generally maintained.
The nearest service centres for medical and dental services are situated in Watton and Attleborough some four and eight miles distant respectively. As no adequate transport services exist it must be assumed that all housing increase must result in an increase in traffic movement and volume on already crowded local roads.
Recent surveys have concluded that there is no requirement for social housing within the village and this is also supported by there being no public service or transport to support social needs.
Caston residents wish to see their village largely unchanged and that any development and growth should be carried out in a way that maintains the character of the village.
Add your comment