‘A lack of cogent arguments’ - Town council hits out over 10,000-home settlement plan

A typical scene of busy traffic on Tavern Lane, Dereham. The town's council says building a new 10,0

A typical scene of busy traffic on Tavern Lane, Dereham. The town's council says building a new 10,000-home settlement near Dereham would only make traffic congestion worse. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Archant

Traffic congestion and lack of access to centres of employment are critical factors in why plans for a proposed 10,000-home in mid-Norfolk should not go ahead, according to Dereham Town Council (DTC).

The town body has penned an objection letter to Breckland Council and housing minister Kit Malthouse with its concerns over developer Lanpro's bid to build the homes on farm land between the villages of North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree.

DTC says the only thing going for the proposal is that it has the backing of the owners of the farm land.

It said the proposal: 'Appears to be lacking in any cogent, well-thought through arguments in favour of constructing a town at the proposed location.

'The strongest argument in favour seems to be that there is landowner's support for the venture, the town council does not consider this to be a sound planning reason for building 10,000 houses.'

The letter says that jobs development in the region has focused on the A11 'tech corridor' which would not easily be accessed from the proposed town, and that if most new residents would be expected to commute to Norwich or Cambridge for work: 'it makes more sense to construct houses at these locations to reduce the cost of commuting.

'If houses are needed then Lanpro have not explained why they are needed at this location rather than nearer to where the jobs are, which would be better for the environment and put less pressure on the road network.'

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The town council says traffic from the new town would travel to or through Dereham. It said: 'This seems an unfortunate oversight given the well-known constraints on the existing road network in Dereham and the issues with congestion in the town.'

The council says no consideration seems to have been given to the increase in rail traffic, and the added congestion to roads due to Dereham's five level crossings, would bring.

Last month, it was revealed Landpro had lobbied central government directly for permission to go ahead with the plans, despite not having secured the support of Breckland Council.

Council officers have informally considered the plans, and said they would not recommend its councillors support the plans 'due to a number of factors'.

The council has not received a formal planning application for the new town.

Lanpro and Breckland council have been contacted for comment.

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