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Now Badersfield needs instant amenities

PUBLISHED: 15:28 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:11 13 July 2010

Families living on a former Norfolk RAF base fear that a lack of amenities and the effects of the housing slump are holding back their “instant” community.

Families living on a former Norfolk RAF base fear that a lack of amenities and the effects of the housing slump are holding back their “instant” community.

People began moving into houses in Badersfield - the new name of the former RAF Coltishall base - just over a year ago after some camped out for days to get the ex-squaddie homes.

While other villages develop over many years, this one has had to establish itself instantly and some homeowners think the absence of a shop - or anything else - is hampering it.

Speaking at a 'dabble day', organised to help the community gel, John Howat, who moved to Badersfield from Scotland, said: “If we could get some facilities here it would be great because we have a great community spirit.”

Kathleen Cunningham, who lived on the base while her husband was in the air force and chose to stay there after it closed, said they needed somewhere to socialise. She said: “It would be much better if they opened a pub. We've asked about opening the old family club. My husband would go there to manage it.”

The housing slump - which has left some families in negative equity even though the homes were originally considered bargains - is also causing concern.

Mr Howat, 53, who lives with his wife Kay, 51, said one of the houses on his road had recently been valued at £24,000 below what the owners paid.

As the only public building in use on the base, St Edward's church has become a cornerstone of the village.

The vicar of Badersfield, the Rev Elizabeth Bailey, believes that, thanks to events organised at the church, the community is taking shape.

She said: “It's gelling very well. This is very much a community church. As well as the worshipping side, we do community activities - things that will bring people together.”

There is a regular parent and toddler group, story-telling sessions every three weeks and one-off events - like last weekend's dabble day - to help families socialise.

But the vicar said that getting the name Badersfield, chosen by villagers in honour of RAF hero Douglas Bader, accepted was proving an obstacle. She said: “It had to go through the councils to be accepted. Then it had to go through the post office to get to the stage where we have got road signs. But it's got stuck in the system.”

Now that the old RAF Coltishall signs have been covered up, there is nothing pointing visitors to the community - leaving it isolated and difficult to find.

The vicar is in contact with the council, which has accepted the name, to discover why there is a hold-up.


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