Breckland plans under scrutiny

Plans for a large-scale development which could see thousands of jobs and homes created in mid Norfolk over the next 20 years are under public scrutiny for the next six weeks.

PLANS for a large-scale development which could see thousands of jobs and homes created in mid-Norfolk over the next 20 years are under public scrutiny for the next six weeks.

Residents in Breckland are being consulted on a blueprint set to bring radical changes to the area and increase its population by almost a quarter.

With over 30,000 people expected to move to the district in the next 15 years, the strategy lays out proposals for the creation of 19,000 new homes and more than 6,000 jobs to accommodate increasing needs.

Planners are keen for the majority of the growth to take place along the A11 - with Thetford, which is nationally recognised as a Growth Point, already earmarked for at least 6,000 new homes, 4,000 extra jobs and regeneration of the town centre.

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Other market towns will also undergo major development. Attleborough is to accommodate up to 4,000 new homes and together with Snetterton will share an

extra 1,700 jobs.

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The strategy also promotes development at Dereham, which is expecting to see an additional 1,000 homes and 1,800 jobs and smaller-scale growth at Swaffham and Watton.

Larger villages such as East Harling, Great Ellingham, Narborough, Shipdham, Swanton Morley and Weeting will also experience growth over the next 20 years.

"We are keen to retain the important services that these villages provide not just for their own residents but for other surrounding villages," said Ann Steward, executive member for environment and planning at Breckland Council.

"We are also proposing strong policies to protect the landscape, wildlife sites and our important historic environment."

Depending on the results of the public consultation, planners and politicians at the council will put the final touches to the strategy before it is adopted in 2009. The blueprint will then be used to determine planning applications and guide land allocations for new development across the district over the next 20


The councillor added: "This is such an important phase in planning for the future development of Breckland and its future prosperity. These changes will affect us all for many years to come and it's important that we take the opportunity now to work towards getting it right. We can only do that with the help of the public and we would urge you to please get involved."

The six-week public consultation on Breckland's Core Strategy and Development and Control Policies (DPD) started on Monday at noon and concludes on March 10 at noon. Copies of the document will be sent to all parish and town councils and will be available at the council offices, libraries and presence offices. An interactive version of the blueprint is available on the council's website at www.breckland.

Next week a public exhibition will be held at the Carnegie Room in Thetford on Wednesday from 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm.

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