Decision over Dereham’s controversial Dumpling Green homes plans deferred

PUBLISHED: 16:22 01 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 September 2014

Dereham Mayor Tim Birt. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham Mayor Tim Birt. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A decision on controversial plans to build hundreds of homes on the edge of Dereham has been put on hold after a fiery debate left councillors with more questions than answers.

Hopkins Homes plans to build 255 houses, 40pc of which would be affordable, on farmland to the east of Yaxham Road, south of Dumpling Green.

The scheme has attracted a significant volume of objections from people in the area, with concerns including the impact on road congestion, capacity at doctors’ surgeries, and oversubscribed schools.

Dozens of people crammed into Breckland Council’s meeting room this morning as the proposals were put before the authority’s planning committee.

The lively meeting saw outraged members of the public break the usual formalities by speaking out to make their views known.

It was heard how there had not been a transport study 2007 and no viability assessment has been carried out on the site.

It was also heard how access from Westfield Road Bridge fails to meet safety regulations for pedestrians and that the area is considered to be a sensitive landscape.

Councillors deferred the application for more information.

Trevor Carter said: “Until we have truthful information, I don’t think we can make a decision at all.”

Fellow councillor Paul Claussen added: “Dereham deserves and needs a complete transport study. We need to be in full possession of all the facts and then we can make a decision.”

Louise Browning, on behalf of the South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said the proposed homes would create potentially 1,000 new patients in the area, which would put further strain on the town’s already over-burdened health services.

Town mayor Tim Birt praised the councillors for deferring the plans. He said: “At least there’s been a proper airing of the issues around the plans. How can the planning committee be presented with such poor information on which to make a decision? It’s pathetic.”

Elsewhere in Dereham, homes are being built in near the football ground site, at the end of Greenfields Road and at Quebec Court. There are plans for a McDonald’s and a hotel at the end of Yaxham Road, and other earmarked sites for housing include at the Maltings.

Chris Smith, on behalf of Hopkins Homes, said: “There is a need for other sustainable locations and Dereham is such a sustainable location.

“We feel this is a good development with a spacious lay out and low density housing.”

The plans will be brought back before Breckland’s planning committee in due course.

What do you think of the proposals? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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