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Controversial bid for 291 Dereham homes to be reconsidered by council

PUBLISHED: 13:45 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 23 November 2018

The Westfield Lane railway bridge in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Westfield Lane railway bridge in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A controversial bid for almost 300 homes on land at the edge of Dereham is due to be reconsidered by Breckland Council’s planning committee on Monday and has been recommended for approval.

Westfield Lane in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.Westfield Lane in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The application for 291 homes near Shipdham Road, Westfield Road and Westfield Lane was rejected by Breckland Council in January after planners said access to the development via a single carriageway bridge was “potentially problematic.”

The vote was tied with five in favour and five against the proposal, with chairman Nigel Wilkin casting the deciding vote for refusal.

But a revised application, submitted by developer Glavenhill Strategic Land, addressed the highways grounds for refusal and is due to be discussed at a planning committee meeting on Monday, November 26, at 9.30am.

The amended proposal includes the demolition of the existing single carriageway bridge and the construction of a replacement two-way railway bridge, at Westfield Lane, instead of traffic signalling works at the junction of South Green and Tavern Lane.

The proposed housing development site in Toftwood. Picture: Ian BurtThe proposed housing development site in Toftwood. Picture: Ian Burt

A consultation response from Dereham Town Council (DTC) to the amended proposal argues the construction of a two-way bridge instead of rather than in addition to traffic signalling works would be “contrary to the Local Plan”.

The response states: “Both a new railway bridge on Westfield Lane and a signalised junction at South Green are required to make the development acceptable.

“Two schemes have been identified as being needed - two schemes should be delivered.

“The application should be refused on the grounds that it will not mitigate its impact on the highway network.”

However, the town council’s response added: “The proposed bridge is to be welcomed, given that we were previously told it was impossible.

A Breckland planning case officer has recommended the deferred application be approved by the planning committee.

The recommendation is subject to conditions including the developer delivering a 40pc provision of affordable housing, comprising 116 dwellings.

It would also require the completion of an off-site highway improvement scheme to Westfield Lane including the signalisation of the bridge and the construction of a new footbridge.

READ MORE: Controversial housing bid on edge of Dereham is refused - because of a railway bridge

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