Developer’s u-turn over safety-fear footpath for 250 home development in Swaffham

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 September 2012

Abel Homes managing director Tony Abel. Picture: Ian Burt

Abel Homes managing director Tony Abel. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

The developer behind plans for 250 new homes in Swaffham has backed down in his dispute with highways officers who insisted he build a footpath next to a busy main road.

Abel Homes’ application for planning permission for the Swans Nest site, east of the A1065 Brandon Road to the south of the town, has been recommended for approval at Monday’s planning committee meeting.

Swaffham Town Council had supported managing director Tony Abel’s argument that a footpath connecting the neighbouring Ben Bailey scheme to the town centre should be separated from the A1065 by a hedge.

Mr Abel said it would keep children away from traffic and ensure the new homes overlooked the footpath, increasing safety for pedestrians.

However, Norfolk County Council said placing the path beside the road would allow it to serve the wider town and not just the new estate, and make it more visible for personal safety reasons.

The council last month told the company it would not accept responsibility for a footpath and cycleway behind the hedge, and said a three-metre wide path should instead be placed next to the carriageway.

Despite describing the response as “disappointing”, Abel Homes has submitted revised plans reversing its original proposals.

The plans would also see a toucan crossing installed on the A1065 at the northern end of the site.

A total of 24 people formally objected to the development, including 16 residents of Cygnet Walk and Sandringham Way, which border the north of the site. Two people wrote in support.

Archaeologists have asked Abel Homes to withdraw the application, or for councillors to refuse it, so an investigation could assess the importance of remains located under the field.

Planning officers wrote: “The proposal would not be harmful to the residential amenity of the area and would enhance biodiversity on the site whilst ensuring there are safe points of access from Brandon Road.”

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