Sites for 90,000 homes put forward

Landowners and developers put forward sites for about 90,000 new homes in Breckland as part of a blueprint for the district over the next 20 years - more than five times more than is needed, it emerged this week.

Landowners and developers put forward sites for about 90,000 new homes in Breckland as part of a blueprint for the district over the next 20 years - more than five times more than is needed, it emerged this week.

Breckland Council is currently preparing its so-called Local Development Framework which will shape how Thetford, Dereham, Swaffham, Watton, Attleborough and the surrounding villages will grow in the future.

Earlier this year it asked for possible sites which could be developed to be put forward and a total of 650 were submitted - from large areas of land to back gardens.

Officials have been through the whole list and put them in three categories - and stressed that a large number will almost certainly not proceed.


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A total of 350 are considered “unreasonable” from a preliminary sift - meaning they are unlikely to be considered favourably due to size, use, location or factors such as flood risk.

The remaining ones are either described as conforming - which fit in with the “core strategy” - or non-conforming, which would have to be changed before they are considered.

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A document listing all 650 sites will be published in the next few days - clearly stating which category they are in - and councillors will be debating it over the next few weeks before a public consultation is held during July, August and September.

Breckland has learned from the errors of Norfolk County Council which produced a document listing sites for minerals and waste developments, but made no distinction about those unlikely to happen. That caused uproar across the county.

Breckland's environmental planning manager Andrea Long said: “We need to refine them down and we are having a rigorous sift. There would be 90,000 homes if all 650 sites were developed and we only need 19,000, so many of them will just not happen.”

A total of 6500 homes have already been built between 2001 and 2008 and with Thetford allocated to have 6000 homes as part of Growth Point Status and Attleborough scheduled for 4000 homes, only 1900 will be for the remaining market towns and local service centre villages.

They are Great Ellingham, Swanton Morley, Shipdham, Narborough, Weeting and Harling.

Other villages would only have small scale developments.

Breckland cabinet member responsible for development Ann Steward said: "What we are doing is no different to what any other council in any other part of the country is doing. Consultation is the key to make sure delivery takes place in the right way. We do not want people to think Breckland will do all this and this is only the first stage.”

Meanwhile, Breckland councillors are being warned to be careful about declaring interests if they or family members have put forward sites as part of the Local Development Framework.

Today the standards committee will hear that 15 out of the 54 councillors fall into that category and advice will be given about what they should do to ensure they comply with rules about declaring interests.

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