Spotlight on growth plans

Hundreds of villagers around Breckland are flocking to their parish and town council meetings to hear plans for huge growth in the district in the next 18 years.

Hundreds of villagers around Breckland are flocking to their parish and town council meetings to hear plans for huge growth in the district in the next 18 years.

About 50 people went to just one meeting in Foulden, near Thetford, to hear about the new planning blueprint for the district being drawn up by Breckland Council.

And so far the message from smaller villages is that they are happy for piecemeal development - but little more.

However, larger councils are concerned they will not have the infrastructure, like schools and doctors, to support housing levels proposed.


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The council's local plan - a set of policies being put together to help guide development in the area - was formed back in the 1990s.

Now villagers and townsfolk are being asked what they think about specific pockets of land put forward by developers and land owners to become part of the new plan of where homes should go up to 2026.

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About 30 people went to Gressenhall's meeting on July 1, 30 went to Weeting on July 7 and 20 went to Bawdeswell on July 7.

David Spencer, principal planning policy officer, said bigger turnouts were expected at town council meetings, which the council's so-called local development framework team will visit.

Attleborough's was held on Monday and meetings will be held at Watton tonight and Swaffham on Monday.

He said: “The message is clear that smaller villages do not want to see any large scale growth and are comfortable with a strategy which would allow for the odd house and for affordable housing schemes to meet local needs.

“For the larger villages and towns the key issue has been the delivery of infrastructure to support growth and the need to get this infrastructure in place before the development takes place.

“Communities have particularly called for school and doctor provision to be enhanced in the short term ready for when the houses come along.”

The consultation is open for 12 weeks until the September 26.

Parish council meetings discussing the proposals, which are open to the public, have already been held at Carbrooke, North Lopham, Croxton, Attleborough, Besthorpe, Hilborough, Shipdham and Whinburgh.

Following dates for parish and town council meetings discussing the LDF are:

July 21, Swaffham, Hockham, North Elmham

July 23, Garvestone, Shropham

July 29, Fransham

Some frequently asked Questions.

Q. How much growth is there going to be?

A. About 19,000 new homes are envisaged in the Plan between 2001 and 2026, with around 6,500 of these already completed or having planning permission.

Q. How much development will take place in the five market towns?

A. The Core Strategy currently identifies the main locations for growth as Thetford, 6,000 homes, Attleborough, 4,000 homes and the remaining market towns and major villages will share 1,900 homes.

The major villages have been identified as local service centre villages, these are; Great Ellingham, Swanton Morley, Shipdham, Narborough, Weeting and Harling.

Q. Does this mean that there will be no growth in the villages and rural areas of Breckland?

A. No, There will also be an allowance of around 3,000 new homes or conversions in country areas and smaller villages to meet local demand and housing needs.

Q. Does this mean that all the sites that have been put forward will be considered suitable?

A. No, We undertook a “call for sites” earlier this year. Over 650 sites were submitted, far more than was actually needed, so there will be a rigorous sifting to decide which are suitable.

Q. How do I find out about which sites have been put forward?

A. All town and parish councils have been a sent a copy of the map identifying those sites that landowners have put forward in their particular parish and asked for their comments on the sites.

Q. How much weight will be given to public views?

A. It is vitally important that where there are strong views on particular sites that they are made known to the Council. Where there are a number of closely competing sites public views can be a key consideration in the decision on their suitability.

To view the interactive consultation go to: http://consult.breckland.gov.uk

Or to fin out more go to: www.breckland.gov.uk/brecklandcouncil/environment/planning/planningpolicy/localdevelopmentframework.htm

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