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‘Dereham has the biggest deficit of playing space in Breckland’ - residents raise concerns ahead of decision on 285 new homes for town

PUBLISHED: 10:14 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21 20 July 2017

Breckland councillor Alison Webb, who opposes the plans for 285 homes. Picture: Brian Webb.

Breckland councillor Alison Webb, who opposes the plans for 285 homes. Picture: Brian Webb.

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Dereham residents have once again voiced their objections to a planning application which could see almost 300 homes built close to their estates.

Over 80 people attended an informal meeting organised by district councillor Alison Webb, where they discussed concerns relating to the proposal put forward by Orbit Homes for 285 homes to be built close to Greenfields Road, near Dereham Windmill.

The meeting was part of an effort by residents to show a collective front in combating the plans as they go before the Breckland Council planning committee on July 31.

Councillor Webb said: “There were about 85 people in attendance, more than at our last meeting on June 5 and lots of them were passionate about this.

“Previously the planning committee put these plans on hold because of a shortage of outdoor playing space for such a large development and yet Orbit has now resubmitted their plans and they are basically the same.

“Dereham has the biggest deficit of playing space across all of Breckland right now. If developers want to build on the land then they have to contribute and work within the local policy.”

The planning committee was initially supposed to make a decision on the proposals in May but the town council argued the application was not in accordance with planning policy DC11.

Under that policy a development of this size should provide a “minimum of two LEAPs (Local Equipped Area for Play) and outdoor sport area.”

Ms Webb added: “The residents feel very strongly about there being adequate playing space and many people at the meeting took down the planning reference and are going to lodge new planning objections.

“We always knew this land would be built on but originally it was to be 225 homes, we didn’t expect 285. These additional houses need extra playing space. We just want some compromise from Orbit, we know the building is going to happen but right now there appears to be no compromise at all.”

Prior to the delay in May, Breckland Council case officer, Matt Ellis, had recommended the application for approval and noted in a report: “The development would make a significant contribution towards the supply of housing, including affordable housing.”

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