Breckland councillors to discuss plans for new flats on Dereham’s former library site

Dereham's former library site could be transformed into 12 new flats after an application was submitted to Breckland councillors.

The proposal, put forward by Acorn Building Services Norfolk, has created a new twist to a planning saga over the plot of land in Church Street.

Members of the council's planning committee are due to debate whether to grant the application full planning permission on Monday. Planning officers have recommended that councillors approve the plans.

The site is within the settlement boundary of Dereham, as well as the town's conservation area, and is next to a Grade II-listed building, flats and the Queen Mother's Garden.

It also contains two protected trees.

If passed, the new flats would be in two blocks, with one fronting on to Church Street and the other to the back of the site, and the buildings would have a 'broadly traditional' design.

Four affordable flats would also be incorporated into the plans.

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In October 2007 a plan to demolish the library and build 10 new homes was refused consent, but in March 2008 a plan to demolish the library and construct 10 homes was approved.

Two years later, the former library was knocked down. The proposal to build 10 new homes still stands, according to the planning report, and the resubmitted scheme reflects the 2008 plans in terms of design and appearance.

Both buildings on the site would be two storey, and the area covered by one of them has been reduced to allow greater distance from a protected sycamore tree. Two parking spaces for disabled drivers and one for a bike would be provided if the application is approved.

Dereham Town Council has raised no objections to the plans and welcomed new social housing, but members were concerned about the lack of parking on the site.

One letter of objection has been received from the neighbouring firm of solicitors, which fears the proposed flats would restrict natural light to one of its offices on the first floor.