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Plea to defer decision on 35 homes set for approval in Mattishall

PUBLISHED: 09:16 17 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:16 17 September 2015

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

A new housing development in Mattishall looks set to be given the green light despite strong local opposition to the scheme.

Watton-based Abel Homes wants to build 35 homes on a 1.8 hectare parcel of agricultural land off Cedar Rise in the village, which would offer a mix of houses and bungalows, 40 percent of which would be affordable, as well as providing a public open space.

The outline application is recommended for approval when planners meet on Monday even though the authority has received more than 150 separate letters of objection, including one from Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman.

The main concerns raised range from lack of infrastructure to support new development particularly the school and doctors’ surgery, to drainage and flood risk, loss of countryside, lack of employment available in Mattishall, impact on wildlife and highway safety.

Mattishall parish council said it felt this application should be considered together with other housing development proposals which have been submitted for three further sites in the village.

It also pointed out that preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan was in progress and no development should be allowed until it had been completed.

In his letter to Breckland Mr Freeman calls for the application to be rejected for the same reason.

He said: “The Localism Act encourages and enables communities to have geniune opportunities to influence the future of their area through the use of Neighbourhood Plans and I believe that any refusal to acknowledge the content of an emerging plan in determining an application goes against the spirit of how the act was intended.”

He also asks that determination of the Abel Homes scheme should be delayed until the parish council has fully implemented the Neighbourhood Plan and if not, whether the council would offer assurances that the emerging plan will be taken into consideration.

Freddie French, chairman of campaign group Mattishall Cedar Matters, said they were very pleased to have Mr Freeman’s support.

“What’s the point of all this hard work on the Neighbourhood Plan if the council starts approving developments?” he said. “I hope the planners will see sense and defer it because we expect the plan to be ready for approval in spring next year which is not too long away.”

* What do you think? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

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