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284-home development in Dereham deferred by planners in close vote

PUBLISHED: 17:39 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 07:54 19 December 2017

View of the Orbit Homes site from Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

View of the Orbit Homes site from Cherry Lane, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

A developer was warned to “work with the community” after an application for 284 homes in Dereham was turned down by council planners by one vote.

Breckland planning committee chairman Nigel Wilkin used a casting vote Breckland planning committee chairman Nigel Wilkin used a casting vote

A developer was warned to “work with the community” after an application for 284 homes in Dereham was turned down by council planners by one vote.

Members of Breckland Council’s planning committee were evenly split by five votes in favour to five against the Orbit Homes proposal for the land off Greenfields Road amid concerns about adequate open playing space.

So with his casting vote Chairman Nigel Wilkin agreed with the objectors that the location of the Multi Use Activity Area (MUGA) was not appropriate given its close proximity to neighbouring properties.

However, with the agreement of the applicant, the resolution of the committee was for the application to be deferred to allow the developer to re-engineer the scheme.

District councillor Alison Webb at the Orbit Homes site in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt District councillor Alison Webb at the Orbit Homes site in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

As the issue could not be resolved with a planning condition Mr Wilkin told the developer to look again at the design.

He warned them: “Work with the community. This will always be Orbit’s development and if you work with your community and get it right you will be praised for it.”

The committee had been told by planning officer Debi Sherman that the land allocated for outdoor sports provision in the scheme “exceeds what is required by policy.”

The proposal, an increase to 284 homes from a previously approved outline application for 220 homes, also offered more affordable housing, she said.

The site plan for the Greenfields Road development. Picture: Orbit Homes The site plan for the Greenfields Road development. Picture: Orbit Homes

But Dereham Town Council clerk Tony Needham said Breckland’s policies were clear that an area totalling 11,280 square metres should be provided for sports.

“There is a massive shortage of playing space in Dereham and it is up to this committee to ensure it does not get worse,” he said. “It is unreasonable to expect future generations of children and adults to suffer a lack of facilities because Orbit can’t put a good design together.”

District councillor Alison Webb added that “children can’t speak up for themselves at this meeting but we can”.

The committee was also read a letter from Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman saying he had “deep concerns” about the application and the open space provision.

George Freeman, Mid Norfolk MP. Pic: Conservative Party. George Freeman, Mid Norfolk MP. Pic: Conservative Party.

He said failure to provide the appropriate facilities represented a “serious betrayal of the people of Dereham”.

READ MORE: Developer accused of putting profit before children’s play













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