Hellesdon’s winning housing on Channel 4 today

A ground-breaking housing development in Hellesdon is featuring tonight (Tuesday November 21) on Channel 4’s Grand Designs House of the Year.

Carrowbreck Meadow, a Passivhaus development in Hellesdon, can be seen as part of the programme which airs at 9pm.

The programme was interested in the development for its architecture, its energy-efficient qualities and also for its affordable homes, which make up 43pc of the site which includes two, three and four-bedroomed family homes in a woodland setting. Carrowbreck Meadow, was masterminded by Broadland Growth Ltd – a partnership between Broadland District Council and Norfolk County Council’s NPS Group. It was created to offer carefully- planned, affordable, high-quality developments in Broadland, while maintaining the highest public-sector values.

The Hellesdon homes have won a host of awards, including the RIBA East Award 2017.

Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council and chairman of Broadland Growth Ltd, said: “Carrowbreck Meadow is an exciting development which raises the bar for local authorities in the delivery of housing.

“We are making a difference to our communities, while offering something different to the marketplace and meeting the demand for housing in Broadland. This also creates significant social value for our district.”

Richard Gawthorpe, Director of Broadland Growth Ltd, said: “A key aim of the Carrowbreck Scheme was to create a positive intervention in the marketplace by providing more affordable mixed tenure housing and creating homes and lifestyle choices, not just houses. “These dwellings are built to nationally recognised space standards and are places that people choose to live in due to the comfortable conditions created by their highly sustainable Passivhaus design.” ​Sarah Lewis, Carrowbreck Meadow project architect from Hamson Barron Smith, said: “These homes are at the leading edge of low energy design, joining a small elite group of super low energy Passivhaus projects across the UK and act as exemplars for future development in the area and beyond.The provision of affordable housing for the local community which exceeds planning requirements and is truly tenure blind demonstrates the inclusive nature of the development which will help to achieve a sustainable, energy efficient and a mixed community.”
 Awards already won by Carrowbreck Meadow: 

National RTPI awards – national award category Excellence in planning to deliver housing

RTPI Awards (East of England) – East of England Award for Planning Excellence 2017

RIBA McEwen awards – shortlisted in final 12

RIBA National – won one of 47 national awards

RIBA Awards – East of England – won RIBA East project award

Norfolk and Norwich Eco-awards – Highly commended in best eco-house category

Norfolk Design and Craftmanship Awards 2017 – best ‘new residential’

RICS Award (residential category) – awarded ‘highly commended’

SPACES (Society for public architecture, construction, Engineering and Surveying) –Been shortlisted from 110 submissions down to 18 finalists

National Housing Design Awards 2017 – DEFRA Award for rural housing

LABC East Anglia Building Excellence Awards – best new housing development in East Anglia and shortlisted for national awards

Norfolk Constructing Excellence Awards – Norfolk Constructing Excellence Club Award for Excellence and Project of the Year

Passivhaus Trust Awards – entry submitted for 2018 awards

Housebuilders Awards 2017 – shortlisted in Best Sustainable Scheme and Best Design for three storeys or fewer

Inside Housing (top 60 developments) – submissions in the Partnerships category, Best Residential Development and Best Architectural Design

Building Awards 2017 – shortlisted under Housing Project of the Year

24 Housing Awards – shortlisted for Best Green Scheme

Energy Awards – shortlisted for Residential Building Award

AJ Architecture Awards – shortlisted for Housing Project of the Year

AJ Footprint Award for Sustainability – submitted

RIBA Regional RSAW – submitted

Civic Trust Awards – submitted

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, is pictured during filming for tonight’s show.

Vote for Hellesdon’s Inca as top PAT dog


A Hellesdon woman’s gentle, much-loved pet has made it to the finals of a national competition to find the nation’s top therapy dog – and needs your vote to win the crown.

Eight-year-old Inca and her owner Sheena Scrimgeor have been making a positive difference to the lives of scores of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  patients from across both counties for the past six years.

Inca, a Labrador-Staffie cross, is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, visiting people in hospitals, and is in the final six of the charity’s PAT Dog of the Year contest.

She and Sheena beat hundreds of other entrants from across the country – including 70 from the eastern region alone – to make the shortlist and now need the public’s support to help them lift the title.

The pair will find out whether they have won on live TV at next year’s Crufts Dog Show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham in March. Sheena said she was “blown away” to find out Inca had been shortlisted.

“I’m very pleased for the patients as they made a great effort to write lovely statements to support Inca’s entry in the competition,” she added. “The only sad thing is that my mother won’t be able to watch. She thought the world of Inca and loved Crufts and watched it every year, but died in March at the grand old age of 101.

“She would have loved to see Inca up on stage in the arena in front of crowds of people being recognised for the work she does. “If Inca wins, I will dedicate the award to her. I’m sure she would have been proud of us both.”

Staff and patients have been sending messages of support for Sheena and Inca. They include this, from Veronica Rackham, of Thurne Ward, Hellesdon Hospital: “Inca is a beautiful dog with a lovely calming nature. She is gentle and loving and will happily sit and be stroked by everyone. I believed she has a very positive impact on all she meets and I know that her visits are very eagerly awaited and enjoyed by many.”

Sheena and Inca visit Hellesdon Hospital every Monday, The Julian Hospital on Tuesdays and the Norvic Clinic on Fridays, as well as fitting in regular visits to Hellesdon High School, a prison and the University of East Anglia. * Vote for Inca by filling in the form in the current edition of Yours magazine or by visiting Voting closes on December 31.


Anger over ruined Hellesdon road verges

Fed up Hellesdon residents are calling on Norfolk County Council (NCC) to stop motorists parking on grass verges.

Parents dropping off children and collecting them from school have been blamed for wrecking sections of grass along Meadow Way.

But NCC says it will not be protecting the verges and suggests the school involved should send letters to parents, asking them to park more considerately.

Neighbours Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes say up to 30 cars park on verges on both sides of Meadow Way each morning and afternoon, as parents take children to and from Firside Junior School.

“They churn up and kill the grass. It’s such a mess and it’s such a shame, “said Mrs Daynes.” It just turns them to mud and they look very unsightly.”

Mr Leckie wants NCC to set posts into the verges, as has been done in a different section of Meadow Way, which has prevented parking and protected the grass.

The council is currently laying new pavements in Meadow Way and contractors will be reseeding the verges when their work is finished.

“There’s absolutely no point doing that,” said Mr Leckie. “They’ll be a mud-bath the next day. It would be better if they put hard core down.”

An NCC spokesman said their powers to prevent parking on verges were limited as drivers were not acting illegally, providing they were not causing an obstruction or danger.

She added: “The verges on Meadow Way will be soiled and seeded as part of the ongoing footway scheme, but council policy is not to guard verges with posts to protect against parking and overrunning. “We do sympathise with residents’ frustration, however damage to the verge is normally cosmetic in nature and does not pose a danger to highway users.”

Firside head teacher Roz Robinson said the school actively worked with residents to maintain good relations and parents were reminded about considerate parking throughout the year.

Just last week she had sent out a newsletter including a section on parking. It asked parents to park considerately, turn off engines while waiting for children and said she would be asking local police to carry out spot checks.

Mrs Robinson added: “I can only apologise on behalf of our parents for any issues around parking near our neighbours’ property.  As a school we will continue to remind our parents about parking and road safety in general.”

Pictured: Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes beside one of the damaged verges on Meadow Way and a different part of the road where posts have been installed preventing parking and protecting the grass.



Hellesdon couple in Las Vegas shooting horror

A Hellesdon woman on holiday in Las Vegas has described the terrifying moment when a shooter began gunning down concert-goers outside the hotel where she and her husband are staying.

Jill Seddigh spoke in a whisper this morning from the locked-down Luxor hotel where she, her husband Farz and other guests have been told to stay in their rooms and keep noise at a minimum until further notice.

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in the horrifying attack which began when a gunman, named as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which is next door to the Luxor.

The Seddighs dived under their dinner table as mass panic broke out after the firing started, at about 10.10pm local time while the outdoor country-music festival was in full swing close to the two hotels.

The couple were having dinner in the hotel’s ground-floor food court when they first became aware that something was wrong.

“So many people just came running in, some screaming. We didn’t hear the shooting but there was just absolute panic. They were running all over the place shouting that there was a shooter out there, and screaming to everybody to get down.

“Farz grabbed me and told me to get under the table. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever been through,” said Jill.

While the Seddighs and everyone else in the food court were sheltering under tables, security staff appeared and ushered everybody through a fire exit into an area used by staff.

“People were sitting on the floor crying. One girl was covered in blood from someone who had been shot. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was. She was on her mobile desperately trying to contact help,” said Jill.

The security staff had then told the Seddighs and other guests that they needed to go to their hotel rooms and lock themselves in until given the all-clear.

Guests had run to the lifts and into their rooms where the Seddighs, who are staying on the fifth floor, have been since 10.45pm local time.

Speaking to Just Regional at 3am local time, Jill said they could see the festival site from the far right of their bedroom window but, in darkness, all that was visible were masses of police cars, while helicopters were flying overhead.

“There’s no way we can sleep,” she added. “We’re following what’s happening on Fox News. Police are swarming everywhere. We’re waiting to be told when we can come out. To be honest, I’m just feeling completely shocked – I can’t take it all in.”

Farz, 46, and Jill, 51, own UK Blinds, on Fifers Lane. They arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday and were due to stay there until this Friday.

Police officers have shot and killed a suspect, identified as a local resident. They believe they have located an Asian female, Marilou Danely, believed to have been travelling with him.




Hellesdon woman’s mice paying vets’ bills

Cats throughout Norfolk are going crazy over Margaret Mottram’s woollen catnip mice.

Hellesdon knitter Margaret’s fingers are never idle as she strives to keep up with demand.

Even when she’s “relaxing” in front of the TV her needles are busy.

And the 3,000-plus mice which Margaret has so far produced are playing a vital role in keeping a busy animal sanctuary going.

Their sale to the owners of lucky moggies all over the county is paying the vets’ neutering and medication bills for all the smaller animals in the care of Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, based in Stratton Strawless.

Margaret, of Drayton Wood Road, was persuaded to start knitting the mice by Maria Thornberg, manager of one of Hallswood’s fund-raising shops, in Mile Cross, who knew that she was an expert with wool and needles.

Margaret now knows the pattern by heart and can knit a mouse in about half an hour, producing some 20 each week, and buying the 100pc wool online from her own pocket.

The mice are stuffed with pure catnip by a Hallswood volunteer, and are then sewn up and washed to “felt them” – matt the wool so that the catnip is secure inside.

The finished mice are on sale for £2.50 each at outlets including vets used by Hallswood, the sanctuary’s shops, and the Norwich Gift Emporium, on Lower Goat Lane.

“They are very popular,” said Maria. “Very old cats become kittens again playing with them. One friend bought one for her younger cat but the older one got into her handbag and stole it to play with!”

Demand is so brisk that Hallswood is considering growing its own catnip to save the cost of buying it online. One volunteer has even experimented with spinning wool from the sanctuary’s rescue sheep to cut expenditure even further.

Maria said the success of the mice had been a huge relief to Lyz Hall, who runs Hallswood.

Before, Hallswood had run up large vets’ bills and had had to pay them off a little at a time, or wait for the proceeds of fund-raising events.

Animals in the sanctuary’s care at present include rescued hedgehogs, cats, alpacas, ponies, donkeys, sheep, horses, and a few dogs.

The mice, plus a few real animals, will be making an appearance at Hellesdon High School on December 2 when Hallswood hosts its Christmas fair.

Miniature Shetland’s Hellesdon walkies

Heads turn and cameras click when Jim Capes takes Buddy for his daily exercise. Because it’s not every day that you see a miniature Shetland pony on a lead, trotting along the suburban pavements of Hellesdon, including the Norwich ring road.

And the phone cameras are even more in evidence when, on match days, Buddy’s sporting his Norwich City FC scarf – although Jim’s beginning to feel the pony’s token of support might be jinxed. “Whenever he wears it they seem to lose – or get relegated!” he said.

The daily walks can take nearly an hour as people stop Buddy to pass the time of day, and give him a carrot or apple. “It’s always: ‘How are you Buddy?’ or ‘Happy Christmas Buddy’ – never ‘How are you Jim?’ I hear people go past our bungalow and say: ‘That’s where Buddy lives’, never ‘That’s Jim’s house’. “Very few people know me, but they all know Buddy and make a fuss of him,” joked Buddy’s long-suffering owner, who is retired from a job at the former Bayer CropScience, on Sweet Briar Road, and was an officer with the Metropolitan Police in London before that.

Neighbours leave healthy treats on their walls along Buddy’s route from his home in Mountfield Avenue. He’s a regular visitor to Reepham Road, sometimes Cromer Road, and to the Salvation Army charity shop, on Boundary Road, where he has a number of fans, according to Jim.

And patriotic Buddy, who led the former Hellesdon carnival parades, can be seen draped in the Union Flag around Remembrance Day, in November. At just over three feet tall and aged seven, Buddy is now fully grown. He was born at the former Dale Farm travellers’ camp, in Essex, and brought to Norfolk by his then owners.

Jim’s wife Claire and daughter Lorna drove past Buddy one day, tethered on the marshes, and instantly fell in love with him. Claire’s offer to buy Buddy was accepted and he has now been with the Capes family for six years, getting on famously with their three dogs and a cat. Buddy grazes their garden, and that of a neighbour, and on quiet days is able to gallop, on a long tether, around Mountfield Park.

And he does his bit for the Hellesdon community by donating his muck for free to the local allotments. Each evening Buddy’s on the lookout for his daily treat of two ginger biscuits. And woe betide Jim if he tries to skimp on it.

The devastating floods which hit Cumbria in December 2015 led to the temporary closure of the McVities biscuit factory in Carlisle – leading to a national shortage of ginger nuts. Jim tried to ration Buddy with just one biscuit in the evenings.

But the determined pony was having none of it and made it very clear that he was being short-changed. Jim said: “We had to raid my mother-in-law’s supplies in the end, to keep him happy!”


Hellesdon hedgehogs fund-raising triumph

A Hellesdon-based campaign to raise money to build a hospital for poorly hedgehogs has been given a final boost by children from West Sussex, meaning work can get started sooner than expected.
Paula Pithers runs Hellesdon Hedgehog rehab, Hellesdon Hogwatch and Hodmedods Hedgehog Support and was heavily involved in the campaign to raise £5,000 for a purpose-built hospital for sick hogs at the Hallswood animal sanctuary, in Stratton Strawless.
She said they were delighted to announce that, thanks to children from Steyning Primary, who chose the appeal to receive the £2,500 they raised by taking part in the Walk4Wildlife, the appeal had not only hit that target – it had exceeded it by around £1,000.
“Not only can we build it, we can start to equip it too,” said Paula. “We hope that we can start getting things in place at the end of August.”
Paula and Hallswood are overwhelmed by the number of hedgehogs brought in needing specialist care, with 12 being brought in just last weekend.
“Liz at Hallswood overwintered 140 last year and that number is rising all the time,” said Paula. “We try to spread awareness about hedgehogs but the more people know, the more hedgehogs we have in because people know what to look for.”
She said hedgehogs were having an especially hard time because their habitat was under threat, with smaller gardens and greater use of slug pellets and other pest controls. With this in mind she is launching an awareness campaign which will teach schoolchildren what they and their families can do to help their prickly neighbours.
The campaign will be launched at Hellesdon High School on September 9 between 11am and 1pm and leaflets are being printed.
“We want to let more people know what they can do to make their gardens more hedgehog friendly and what to look out for if they see a hedgehog who needs help,” said Paula. “We will see a lot of juveniles who are not big enough to make it through the winter.”


Road closure will put pressure on roads in Hellesdon, Drayton and Horsford

Extra long-term pressures on roads through Hellesdon, Drayton and on Church Street, Horsford, are expected following the permanent closure of the B1149 Holt Road, south of Horsford.

The closure has been brought forward to Wednesday August 9 after BT Openreach announced earlier dates for moving their fibre optic cables. The closure had been put back until late August after BT said diversion of the cables would not begin until after the World Athletics Championships (August 4-13). However, that work has been rescheduled by BT to start on July 31. This will allow more of the complex final phase in constructing the major A140 Cromer Road/A1270 Northern Distributor Road (NDR) junction to be carried out in the school summer holidays. Altogether, it is expected to take around three months to complete the junction. Following the B1149 closure, traffic will be diverted via New Drayton Lane – which has recently opened – on to Reepham Road. This diversion will remain in place until traffic can use the NDR dual carriageway and A140 junction, or part of it, to restore access to the A140. Norfolk County Council and Balfour Beatty has apologised for the unavoidable disruption to normal travel.