After almost 100 years of campaigning, a bypass to shorten the journey to Ipswich is set to get the go-ahead and will transform a Norfolk town as a result. 

The busy A140 cuts through the heart of Long Stratton, but since the 1930s locals have wanted a new road to divert traffic away from the town. 

Now, a plan to build thousands of homes in the area could see the long-awaited project get the green light. 

Planning applications for two extensive sites are set to be decided by South Norfolk Council (SNC) on Wednesday, after five years in development

Eastern Daily Press: A140 bypass signs by the traffic at Long Stratton in 2007. Photo: Denise BradleyA140 bypass signs by the traffic at Long Stratton in 2007. Photo: Denise Bradley (Image: Denise Bradley)

Combined, the sites make up an area more than twice the size of Mousehold Heath in Norwich. 

One site covers 325 acres on the east side of the town, stretching from Church Lane to near Wood Lane. 

It includes 1,275 homes, 20 acres of land that can be used for businesses, a five-acre primary school for around 400 pupils, public open space, and the new bypass. 

The other sites covers 100 acres of land west of the A140 between Brand’s Lane and Swan Lane. 

It would bring 600 homes, with 213 initially and a further 387 planned for the future, as well as 3.7 acres of employment space and a new relief road. 

Long Stratton is currently home to around 4,400 people. If each planned new property had two bedrooms it would increase the population of the town by 3,750, almost doubling the number of people in the town. 

Ahead of the meeting, 62 neighbours have written to SNC's development committee about the plans, with four in support, 27 objections and 30 neutral. 

Concerns include extra pollution from the developments, the volume of traffic it will create and the impact on the historic Norfolk landscape. 

Supports have hailed the delivery of the bypass, which will stop traffic going through the town.

While SNC’s officers have recommended the plans for approval they have raised some concerns, saying there is a "significant shortfall in the viability of the scheme".

In particular, they criticise the lack of affordable housing - just 14pc, or 265 homes across both sites - and the lack of improvements for pedestrians and cyclists in Long Stratton.

While the application is going before SNC councillors next week, they are being asked to delegate the final approval to a senior planning official until final issues are resolved. 

This includes addressing concerns that new homes in Norfolk are contributing to pollution in the River Wensum and parts of the Norfolk Broads, through nutrients in wastewater produced by households. 

In March 2022, councils were told they must not grant planning permission for schemes involving 'overnight accommodation' close to the two waterways until mitigation measures can be approved, by achieving so-called 'nutrient neutrality'. 

It is hoped the issue will soon be resolved, with plans being examined by various Norfolk councils. 

Nutrient neutrality led to plans for the bypass being put on hold last year because a wedge of funding for the road is due to come from developer contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy cash - money which hinges on homes being built. 

Eastern Daily Press: Long Stratton bypassLong Stratton bypass (Image: Norfolk Homes)

Locals have been calling for a bypass for almost a century and in 2021 it took a significant step forward when the Department for Transport pledged £26.2m towards the £46.2m cost of the two-and-a-half-mile A140 bypass

SNC’s planning officials have said the delivery of the bypass is "key" to the development. 

The bypass scheme will be built by Norfolk County Council subject to planning permission being granted, with construction expected to take 18 months, starting in April 2024. 

Other outstanding issues include a re-examination of how the plans will impact local health services and surface water drainage.