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Dereham flats and shops plan backed

PUBLISHED: 17:23 05 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:53 07 July 2010

A dentist and a hairdressers could be two of four new businesses to open on the old Riverside Garden Centre site on the edge of Dereham when it is redeveloped, its owner said this week.

A dentist and a hairdressers could be two of four new businesses to open on the old Riverside Garden Centre site on the edge of Dereham when it is redeveloped, its owner said this week.

Stephen Cross's plans for 14 flats and four shop units in a three-storey building on the old garden centre and gasworks site have been given the green light by Breckland Council's development control committee.

But the scheme came up against opposition from residents in the Riverside development who say it will cause them disruption and that the road to be used as access to the flats was in fact private.

Residents there have been set by problems for about a year after the developer building the site went into administration with accountants Ernst and Young, leaving parts of the development still looking like a building site.

But Mr Cross said this was not his doing and that his firm, Market Place-based Gorgate, had access rights for the new flats.

All 14 flats will be one bedroomed and will have one parking space each, accessed off Riverside Road, and a shared first floor landscaped terrace area.

There will also be 40 car parking spaces for people using the new shops, accessed off Old Swaffham Road, which Mr Cross said could include a dentists and a hairdressers.

A convenience shop on the site will remain in place.

But Brian Moran, who lives in the Riverside development, said: “We believe the Riverside road is a private road.

“Delivery vans to the four shops will cause a lot of congestion and 14 spaces for the flats are insufficient.

“Riverside has been a building site for over a year now. All the movement of materials would make life unbearable for us.”

He also said he thought the current economic climate would make new shops untenable and the bins area at the back of the flats was too close to the existing homes and would encourage rats.

Mr Cross said: “It will be a benefit to the town and will tidy up what has been a messy site.

“The economic situation is difficult at the moment but by the time this is built out it will be different but that is a commercial decision for us.”

He added there had already been talks with a dentists and another possibility was a hairdressers.

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