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Bid for green spaces

PUBLISHED: 13:46 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 07 July 2010

“Give us the land” is the desperate plea from town councillors in a last ditch bid to stop precious green spaces in Dereham being sold for houses.

Over the last few weeks there have been many heated debates and meetings about Breckland Council's plan to build 40 homes on 11 selected sites in the area.

“Give us the land” is the desperate plea from town councillors in a last ditch bid to stop precious green spaces in Dereham being sold for houses.

Over the last few weeks there have been many heated debates and meetings about Breckland Council's plan to build 40 homes on 11 selected sites in the area.

Residents who live near the various plots of land are outraged at the loss of precious open space and extra traffic the new development will bring to the green at Laburnum Crescent on the Boyd estate - especially as a new day nursery will open at the entrance to the site.

Last month, a full Breckland Council meeting put the plans on hold for review and it was hoped the idea would be scrapped.

But after a heated exchange between councillors on Thursday, the overview and scrutiny commission refused to look at the issue.

Conservative councillor and Dereham mayor, John Gretton, proposed the 11 sites should be reassessed with the possibility of the land being given back to town and parish councils, putting the policy and plans to spend on £130,000 on consultancy fees to one side.

And chairman Robin Goreham and Keith Gilbert backed the suggestion, adding that the research for the plans were done several years ago and could now be out of date.

However, Conservative councillor Cliff Jordan said: “I've had to go through the planning stages of objecting to houses in my village and I suggest these people do the same. Why should there be an exception?

“When the plan to build houses in Yaxham was going through we were told it was for the good of the people.

“The system is devised to have no political throw one way or the other. This application should be treated the same as any other to be fair and equal.

“The planning application should go ahead and if people can object they can do so at the appropriate time at a planning meeting. Just let the thing go.”

Mr Jordan then proposed to let the scheme go back to cabinet and full council so the planning process could take place. Eight people approved the proposal with only Keith Gilbert, Robin Goreham and Robert Kybird objecting.

But undeterred, on Tuesday night Dereham Town Council pledged to keep fighting to stop development plans.

Councillor Michael Fanthorpe said: “Breckland is not listening to people. We know what people want. We are closest to them. But the district council is only listening to themselves.

“We had a private meeting with chief executive Trevor Holden and he told us if we asked him for some of the land we could have it. Like North Pickenham. We need to ask for the land.”

Councillor Robin Goreham said: “We need to ask for the land causing the most distress to people, which is Boyd Avenue. We need to stop them going through a long and tortuous planning process.

“We shouldn't ask for too much at once. If we are given it then we will carry on the fight to protect the other pieces of land people are concerned about.”

The town council agreed to write a letter to Breckland Council to ask to Laburnum Crescent to be handed over to them.

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