Plans to build a 'railway town' the size of Cromer in the Norfolk countryside could yet be revived, the MP for the area has warned.

George Freeman, who represents Mid Norfolk, raised concerns that proposals for 5,000 new homes on farmland between Dereham and Fakenham could still be lodged, despite campaigners against them believing they had decisively seen off the scheme.

Dereham Times: Mid Norfolk MP George FreemanMid Norfolk MP George Freeman (Image: Archant 2018)

The MP said it was crucial to keep up the pressure to make clear such a development would not get support from local people - because those behind the project could yet try to secure planning permission.

The project to build the homes near North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree had been speculatively put forward by Bristol-based planning consultant Black Box Planning as part of Breckland Council's process to develop a new local plan - a blueprint for where new housing could be permitted.

It was dubbed a 'railway town' because it would be close to the route of the heritage Mid Norfolk Railway - but ran into opposition from the Campaign Against New Town group.

Dereham Times: Fields near Bintree where developers wanted to build a new townFields near Bintree where developers wanted to build a new town (Image: Denise Bradley)

During consultation over the local plan, more than 2,000 objections were lodged, including from 35 town and parish councils.

And Breckland Council decided not to include the site in its local plan, saying it was "inappropriate" - to the delight of campaigners.

Dereham Times: Campaigners against the proposals for the new townCampaigners against the proposals for the new town (Image: George Freeman)

However, Mr Freeman said: "The announcement by Breckland that they believe further consideration of the proposed new town site as 'inappropriate' in the context of their ongoing local plan update was very welcome.

Dereham Times: Developers put forward proposals for a 'railway town' in Mid NorfolkDevelopers put forward proposals for a 'railway town' in Mid Norfolk (Image: Google)

"We must not be complacent, however. Developers can still bring forward an application nevertheless – which is why we must keep up awareness and pressure."

"Like all parts of the UK, Mid Norfolk needs some new housing – primarily affordable housing for local people focussed in smaller pockets in each of our communities - not a new town of 5,000 five-bedroom executive houses with no connectivity, services or employment."

Dereham Times: The Mid Norfolk RailwayThe Mid Norfolk Railway (Image: Archant)

While no plans were lodged for the new town, inclusion in the local plan would have made it more likely a scheme would be granted permission once an application was lodged.

This was the second time a new town had been proposed in that location.

In 2018, a 10,000-home development was put forward and dismissed after objections.