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Joy at £6m Dereham housing scheme openin

PUBLISHED: 18:41 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 July 2010

Ian Clarke

It was party time as residents celebrated the official opening of a new £6m affordable housing development in Dereham.

The scheme - built on land off Norwich Road between Neatherd High School and the town's cricket club - is providing homes for about 250 people who had been on the 3000-strong waiting list in Breckland.

It was party time as residents celebrated the official opening of a new £6m affordable housing development in Dereham.

The scheme - built on land off Norwich Road between Neatherd High School and the town's cricket club - is providing homes for about 250 people who had been on the 3000-strong waiting list in Breckland.

Broadland Housing Association faced strong opposition to building on the land - which used to be home to the Jentique and Metamec sports club and Coco's cabaret club.

But the controversy was far from the minds of new residents - and especially the children - as they enjoyed a celebration opening event, including a bouncy castle, face painting and BBQ.

Deputy lieutenant of Norfolk Carol Bundock performed the official opening and planted a tree on one of the open spaces on the development.

She said it had “a wow factor” and praised the community spirit which had already developed.

“It is a fantastic vision and wonderful reality.”

Broadland Housing's chief executive Michael Newey said: “We are the marking the end of the beginning - and it was a long beginning.”

He admitted there had been a lot of work and opposition to the scheme but added: “I am really proud of what we have delivered. It is about providing 65 new homes in Dereham which makes a real difference in the town.”

Among the new tenants is Naomi Norton, who has a four-bedroom house with her five children aged 10 months to 10, and used to live at Mattishall.

“It has brightened our lives to live her. The children love it.”

Michael Breeze uses a wheelchair and is one of the disabled friendly bungalows, along with his wife Sarah and children Adam and Hannah.

He said: “I was on the housing list for 12 years for a disabled bungalow and it has been a Godsend. It has changed my life completely. The bungalow has wide doors and everything is on a level access.”

Broadland has put up a safety fence between the new development and the cricket club to stop balls going over.

Some have still gone on to roofs and parking areas during the summer, so the fence is to be extended before next season.

The scheme is a mix of properties from one bedroom flats to four bedroom homes. Twenty of them are part buy/part rent and the others are rented.

The homes have been built using a modern method of structural timber frame construction which provides high insulation properties and keeps space heating costs as low as possible.

They achieved an eco homes “very good” rating.

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