A wetland near a rural village looks set for approval as part of a developer's plans to counter the effect building new homes would have on the environment.

An area of land of more than 17 hectares - the equivalent of 32 football pitches - near the village of Guist could be transformed if the application is approved.

It is hoped it will help improve water quality in the River Wensum and create a wildlife haven that will improve biodiversity.

Fakenham & Wells Times: An area of wetland in the grounds of Sennowe Hall, also in the village of GuistAn area of wetland in the grounds of Sennowe Hall, also in the village of Guist (Image: Mike Page)

Persimmon Homes, one of the largest housing construction companies in the country which has plans to build hundreds of homes in Norfolk, is behind the proposal.

The wetland is part of an effort to create several in the county.

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Experts hope they will 'soak up' - or 'neutralise' - harmful pollution generated by new housing to prevent it ending up in Norfolk's rivers.

The wetland could be built on land to the south of the Norwich/Fakenham Road (A1067) to the south and southeast of Guist.

Fakenham & Wells Times: A map of where wetlkands could be created in NorfolkA map of where wetlkands could be created in Norfolk (Image: Nancy Fallows)

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The project would create three ponds through which the flow of water from the Foulsham tributary of the River Wensum would be diverted via a dam or small weir.

Persimmon Homes says it will improve water quality downstream and allow it to deliver new home schemes in the river catchment area.

Fakenham & Wells Times: The Breckland Council offices in DerehamThe Breckland Council offices in Dereham (Image: Archant © 2013)

It is thought building the wetland could take three months and it could require up to 4,000 lorries to remove material from the site.

The scheme has been welcomed by environmental groups, including the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, although concerns have been raised that it could fall short of nutrient neutrality targets and that more would need to be done to protect the River Wensum.

Breckland Council officers have recommended the project be approved, with the final decision to be made by councillors next week.