‘One of the most significant documents we have produced as a council’ - Plan laying out vision for Breckland’s future enters final stage

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A major document that will impact the future of Breckland for the next 20 years is progressing towards its final stages with a series of public hearings.

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Residents will be able to examine the draft local plan at events held over a seven week period, starting on April 17, and government inspector Jonathan Manning will address issues raised during the pre-submission consultation earlier this year.

Topics to be covered include the environment, transport, infrastructure, housing site allocations, affordable housing and economic development.

Although the public may attend the hearings to observe the proceedings, only those who submitted comments during the pre-submission period and have been invited to do so by the inspector may speak during the sessions.

The aim of the local plan is to lay the future development of the district between 2011 and 2036, including the delivery of more than 15,000 new homes. Around 10,000 these have already either been built or have had planning permission granted. The plan also allocates a minimum of 64 hectares of employment land to boost growth and support new jobs, while putting in place policies to protect the historic and natural environment.

If the Inspector agrees the plan is feasible, it is likely to be adopted by Breckland in autumn 2018.

Breckland councillor Gordon Bambridge called it 'one of the most significant documents that we have produced as a council'.

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He said: 'These public hearings will enable Mr Manning to speak directly to organisations and individuals who made submissions, and ask them for clarification or further information regarding any matters which have not yet been resolved.'

In Dereham, the plan has been closely scrutinised by the town council and they have submitted written statements to highlight numerous concerns.

Among them, they questioned a transport study which only considered the impact of town growth on specific road junctions and not on the road network as a whole. They also questioned the study used as the basis for employment land allocation, which was carried out before the announcement of major infrastructure projects such as the dualling of sections of the A47 and the announcement of the Northern Distributer Road.

A full schedule of the sessions will be published on the council's website.