Hundreds of new homes refused by councillors after 'rat run' warnings
PUBLISHED: 15:50 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 13 January 2020
Plans to build more than 250 homes in a Norfolk town were refused after councillors were warned the scheme could see traffic "queueing on the A47".
The application - for 255 homes at Yaxham Road and Dumpling Green - was first lodged with the council more than a decade ago.
But in 2010 the housebuilder Hopkins Homes saw the scheme deferred in 2014, and again to 2020.
And at a packed planning committee meeting at Breckland Council, on Monday, January 13, councillors debated the schemes' impact on the town's traffic issues.
Independent councillor Roger Atterwill warned if the homes were built, the town could see traffic "queuing on the A47".
While Tony Needham, Dereham Town Council clerk, told the committee: "The last time we discussed the application I pointed out a number of mistakes.
"I can still point to flaws. The town council believes the impact of the development will be severe and so does our barrister."
Chris Couves, from Yaxham Parish Council, said: "Yaxham already has a high level of traffic movement coming from Dereham on a daily basis.
"The B1135 is already being used as a rat run to join the A47."
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And Chris Mannings, who lives on Dumpling Green, told the committee: "We're against the Hopkins' Homes development.
"It was not included in the Local Plan. Nearby schools and GPs are full to capacity."
However, Conservative councillor Marian Chapman-Allen said: "I totally sympathise with people who have to come in and out of Dereham but anyone who travels in and out of Bury St Edmunds, the problems don't even touch the sides.
"Hopkins Homes as developers have an excellent reputation. They provide good quality properties."
Planning officer Rebecca Collins said the application would include open space" and a "green edge".
The proposed development also featured 46 affordable homes and around £1m in contributions towards the area's education, healthcare and library costs, known as Section 106 obligations.
But Conservative councillor for Dereham, Alison Webb, added: "I'm very disappointed it's only 18pc, not 40pc, affordable homes.
"We need affordable homes in Breckland. We have people who need homes."
The application, which had been recommended for approval by the council's officers, was voted down by seven votes to four.
Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: "We are very disappointed that our proposals for 255 homes at Yaxham Road, Dereham were not approved by the planning committee, despite a strong recommendation for the scheme to be approved by the council's planning officers.
"We originally brought plans forward for the development in 2010, but the committee deferred its decision in 2014 and asked us to complete further assessments. We have since completed these additional surveys, including a comprehensive Traffic Assessment, and no objections to the plans were received from Norfolk County Council, the Highways Agency or other statutory bodies."