Fears for Attleborough

Fears have been raised that Attleborough could become a 'large unattractive' housing estate after it emerged that it would be left with a multimillion pound infrastructure shortfall under plans to double its population.

Fears have been raised that Attleborough could become a 'large unattractive' housing estate after it emerged that it would be left with a multimillion pound infrastructure shortfall under plans to double its population.

More than 4,000 new homes are being proposed for the town as part of a scheme that will see around 19,000 houses built across Breckland over the next 17 years.

But community leaders spoke of their concern yesterday after it emerged that there would be a funding gap of almost �39m for the transport links, schools, health, utility, community and sports facilities necessary to support the new development.

An independent report by London-based consultants EDAW, commissioned by Breckland Council, has revealed that Attleborough would need a �102m infrastructure investment under plans to build 4,000 extra homes south of the railway by 2026. However, only �63m of those costs would be met by public funding and developer contributions.


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Officials behind a new action group, Taking Attleborough Forward, yesterday said the non-delivery of essential facilities in the town would be 'unacceptable.'

Richard Middleton, chairman of the group, which was formed in October and consists of district and town councillors as well as local residents, said many townsfolk were against any additional housing, but Taking Attleborough Forward members were keen to ensure that any new development was sustainable.

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'The proposals for an additional 4,500 houses will double the size of Attleborough giving it a population about the same as Thetford.'

'We believe that the �100m estimate for new infrastructure is a conservative one and that the final figure could be much more. You only have to look at how few facilities the town has, when compared to Thetford or Dereham, to get an idea of the scale of the investment required. Without the appropriate investment, Attleborough will become nothing more than a large and very unattractive housing estate,' he said.

Attleborough is scheduled for 4,500 homes - 500 of which have already been built - as part of Breckland Council's Core Strategy and Development Control Policy, which is open to public consultation until February 16. It is also proposed to create between 1,500 and 2,000 new jobs up to 2021.

The infrastructure study report by EDAW suggests that Attleborough needs 'significant' investment to support its growth, including �27m for three new nursery schools, two primary schools and an extension of secondary school and sixth form provision, �1.7m for a community centre and library, �4.5m for outdoor sports areas and play areas, more than �9m for a road link across the railway, �18m for a water treatment plant and sewer works, and �7m for bus station and railway station improvements.

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