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Another 291 homes to be built on outskirts of Dereham after plans approved despite opposition

PUBLISHED: 08:32 27 November 2018

Westfield Lane in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Westfield Lane in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Another 291 homes are set to be built on the outskirts of Dereham after Breckland Council’s planning committee approved the plans despite significant opposition.

The new houses will be built on land off Shipdham Road, Westfield Road and Westfield Lane in Toftwood and were put forward by planning consultancy firm Lanpro, on behalf of developer Glavenhill Strategic Land.

This comes just four months after 279 new homes in Dereham were approved on land at Greenfields Road.

The plans had been rejected at a meeting in January, when chairman Nigel Wilkin used his casting vote, on the basis that accessing the development via a C-road and the bridge on Westfield Lane was potentially problematic.

The amended application includes the demolition of the existing railway bridge and construction of a replacement two-way bridge, as well as a proposed roundabout within the site.

The Westfield Lane railway bridge in Toftwood, near Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe Westfield Lane railway bridge in Toftwood, near Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

A road which will run through the development is also included within the proposals.

Speaking at the meeting, Dereham Town Council clerk Tony Needham expressed concerns over transport issues and said: “In 2016 the town council responded to the applicant’s transport assessment stating that an assessment of cycle routes was not included and should have been included.

“The proposed roundabout is one mile away from the South Green junction, I cannot see how this roundabout removes the need for a signalised junction at South Green.”

Other issues raised at the meeting included both the impact on the nearby River Tud and on congestion in Dereham.

Westfield Lane railway bridge in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.Westfield Lane railway bridge in Toftwood near Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Councillor Harry Clarke said: “I am disappointed that the committee did not allow a deferral and to include a cycling assessment as requested by Dereham Town Council. I fear that Dereham will be known as gridlock Dereham if we are not very careful.”

Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman has also spoke out about the scheme, submitting a letter to council officer Rob Walker arguing that the development represented “house dumping”.

Jane Crichton of Lanpro said: “Since January we have been working with the council and the highway authorities to employ the changes to the scheme which address the reasons for refusal.

“The scheme continues to deliver a package of benefits which includes 116 affordable homes, 12.6 hectares of on-site open space, new grazing land, improvements to off-site public rights of way and contributions to education, the NHS and libraries.”

The plans were approved by a vote of six to four.

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