Fears that seven small patches of land in neighbourhoods across Dereham could be sold off for development have sparked an outcry from locals.

The parcels of land, all of which are tucked within existing residential areas, have been earmarked by Breckland Council for a review which will look at whether they can be "disposed of" for "income generation".

The council has stressed that "no firm decisions" have yet been made on the spaces - but the listing of the sites for potential sale has raised concern.

Locals say they are important green spaces for communities, which would be lost if the sites were developed.

Hugh King, mayor of Dereham, said his town council would even consider taking legal action to prevent them from being sold off.

The sites have been identified by Breckland Council as part of a new business plan for a development company it partly owns, called Breckland Bridge.

The list includes small sites in all five of the district's towns - and several of its villages - with income from the possible sales going to Breckland Bridge.

Looking at Dereham's list - which includes spaces at Oakwood Road, Colin Mclean Road and Dale Road - Mr King said: “I think all of the proposed sites are worth keeping - they provide important green spaces close to where people live.

“Dereham needs more green space, not less. The town council, as a whole, will need to consider what action, legal or otherwise, it may wish to take to protect green spaces from being lost.”

Labour town and district councillor Harry Clarke said: "People have put up with enough stress through the pandemic and this cost of living crisis - it is not going to promote community wellbeing if people now have to worry that their small green spaces are going to be taken from them."

Paul Hewett, the council's Conservative cabinet member for property and projects, admitted that some of the parcels of land being looked at across the district are "surplus to [the council's] requirements".

He clarified however that "no firm decision" had yet been made on any of the land, and that Breckland "would welcome views from residents on the future of these sites to be made known to local district councillors".

"We can then take all comments into the assessment process and make a fully informed decision," he said.

"The retention of open space provision for our communities, along with other material considerations, will play an important part of that assessment, and will be factored into any decision taken in the future."