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Plans to classify villages as countryside to stop

PUBLISHED: 14:07 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 July 2010

Plans which could see villages near Dereham effectively reclassified as countryside to limit new housing developments were due to be discussed at a day-long meeting in the town today.

Plans which could see villages near Dereham effectively reclassified as countryside to limit new housing developments were due to be discussed at a day-long meeting in the town yesterday.

Breckland Council is undertaking a review of its planning policy as part of creating a new blueprint, called the local development framework (LDF), which will effect all future development until 2025.

Yesterday, the council's LDF task and finish group met to discuss where settlement boundaries - where it is acceptable to have new homes built - should be around Shipdham, Swanton Morley, Mattishall, North Elmham and Fransham and many more villages.

As part of the plan a number of small villages considered to have reached their limit for new development are proposed to have their settlement boundaries removed - effectively giving them the same protection from development as the surrounding countryside around them currently has.

This means only homes such as those tied to farms or needed for exceptional circumstances would be seen as acceptable.

According to a report to the committee, villages being considered for this policy were: Old Beetley, Billingford, Brisley, Elsing, Foxley, Guist, parts of North Elmham, Reymerston, Sparham, Wendling, Whinburgh, the Woodgate area of Swanton Morley, East Tuddenham and North Tuddenham.

David Spencer, principal planning officer, said the change had come about to stop any creep of development into the countryside.

He said there had been a concern that in some village settlement boundaries over development had been allowed.

“Those villages will become, for policy purposes, countryside,” he said. “There will be a general presumption against development in those areas unless something is needed in exceptional circumstances to support that community.”

Settlement boundaries are proposed to be amended in Bawdeswell, Gressenhall, Hockering, Longham, Lyng, Mattishall, Mileham, North Elmham, Shipdham, Swanton Morley and Yaxham.

For a report on the meeting see next week's Dereham Times.


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