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Blueprint for homes in mid Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:09 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:49 07 July 2010

A planning blueprint which will dictate where homes can go up to 2026 in mid-Norfolk has been agreed after four years of research and consultations.

It has taken more than 80 meetings with parish and town councils, some 30 meetings of Breckland Council and six months in total of public consultation to formulate a key part of the district's new local plan.

A planning blueprint which will dictate where homes can go up to 2026 in mid-Norfolk has been agreed after four years of research and consultations.

It has taken more than 80 meetings with parish and town councils, some 30 meetings of Breckland Council and six months in total of public consultation to formulate a key part of the district's new local plan.

The core strategy of the so-called local development framework (LDF), agreed by the council yesterdaysets out the council's planning policies in broad terms.

This includes where some 19,100 homes will go over the next 18 years and planned substantial growth in the district's main towns, Attleborough and Thetford, which could see 4,000 and 6,000 additional homes respectively.

It also includes a ban on new development within a 1,500metre buffer zone of the Breckland Special Protection Area - a large chunk of land given European protection because it is one of only two habitats in the UK used by the rare stone curlew, the other being the MOD-owned Salisbury Plain.

This policy affects a large area north of Thetford and has meant a proposed 50 homes in Weeting can't be built.

A key part of the document was an agreement that land would not be released for development until could be proved there was sufficient infrastructure to cope with new homes of businesses.

This would include looking at schools, healthcare, water treatment facilities, energy supply and roads especially in towns including Thetford, Attleborough, Dereham and Watton.

The document was agreed by Breckland's full council and will now go to a final consultation and then the secretary of state for approval.

It makes Breckland only the second council in Norfolk to reach this stage in producing a core strategy.

Ann Steward, Executive Member for Planning and Environment said: “The next 18 years will see major growth for the East of England and Breckland is ideally placed to capitalise on this.

“Our plan aims to ensure that existing and new members of the community have access to high quality housing, jobs and services and foster the sense of pride that already exists in Breckland.”

It took more than 20 minutes for yesterday's meeting to start as councillors deliberated whether or not they had a personal or prejudicial interest in the local development framework.

Because many are landowners or run businesses, they felt they would have a prejudicial interest - which means they are unable to take part in the meeting.

Some changed their minds after a briefing by the deputy chief executive Tim Leader and declared just a personal interest, which meant they could stay but their interest would be registered.

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