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Villages launch campaign to fight new mid Norfolk town plans

PUBLISHED: 11:36 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:27 02 October 2018

A map of the proposed new town's location in mid Norfolk, between the villages of North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree. Photo: Lanpro

A map of the proposed new town's location in mid Norfolk, between the villages of North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree. Photo: Lanpro

Archant

People opposed to plans for a new 10,000 home town in mid Norfolk have launched a campaign group to fight against the scheme.

Managing director, Chris Leeming, of the town planning and building design consultancy firm Lanpro. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYManaging director, Chris Leeming, of the town planning and building design consultancy firm Lanpro. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The group, Campaign Against the New Town (CANT), is made up of representatives from the villages which would be most affected: Bawdeswell, Billingford, Bintree, Foxley and North Elmham.

Campaign coordinator Di Dann said the group were bracing themselves for a long campaign.

But Lanpro managing director Chris Leeming said his firm welcomed CANT’s views and the plan would benefit the wider area.

Mrs Dann, former North Elmham parish council clerk, said: “We are committed to seeing this unsustainable proposal kicked into touch.

Breckland Council offices, where a meeting to discuss the plans will be held. Picture: Ian BurtBreckland Council offices, where a meeting to discuss the plans will be held. Picture: Ian Burt

The idea of building any number of homes, let alone 10,000, in the middle of this very rural and tranquil area has met strong opposition from local people.

“Team members are bracing themselves for a long campaign.”

Mrs Dann said: “The concept of Lanpro’s new town proposal is unsustainable and without merit, and would bring even more traffic chaos to the centre of Dereham and some 20 years of construction traffic to neighbouring roads.

“The proposal is hitched on to the Mid Norfolk Railway and making this heritage railway line run commuters from the old County School stop near North Elmham, through to Dereham and onwards to Wymondham.

“It is extremely unlikely that the railway would ever take significant numbers of travellers off the roads.

“The proposal to bring 40,000 people to the area will impose huge demands on already hard-pressed services across Norfolk.”

Mr Leeming said: “We would reiterate that sustainability, infrastructure and the provision of services are at the very heart of proposals for a new garden settlement in mid Norfolk, and this will deliver further benefits for the wider area.”

He added: “We have recognised the key areas from the inception of this project and have developed solutions for issues raised, which will be published in due course.

“We intend to fully engage with the local authority, community and businesses as part of the promotion of this site.”

A representative of CANT will speak at a meeting of Breckland District Council, to discuss the new town plans, on Thursday, October 25, at 10am, at Elizabeth House, in Dereham.

The CANT will transport people from the affected villages to Dereham for the meeting. Anyone wanting transport from North Elmham is asked to book in advance by calling Janet Woodhouse on 01362 668525.

• Billingford residents should call Andy Cutcher on 01362 668437 or Lee Bullbrook on 01362 668358 for transport.

• Bawdeswell residents should call Bill Cunliffe on 01362 668956 for transport.

• Bintree residents should call Gwyneth Homes on 01362 680122 for transport.

• Foxley residents should call Linda Rose on 01362 668488 for transport.

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