Bid for 4,000 new homes to double size of Attleborough takes step forward as planning application lodged
- Credit: Archant
The mayor of Attleborough has welcomed a long-awaited planning application put in this month to build 4,000 new homes, which will almost double the size of the town.
The massive project will cover a 217 hectare site south of the town and employ the equivalent of 818 full-time staff during construction.
The expansion, to be completed by 2026, was originally earmarked in 2009 as part of Breckland's planning blueprint for the district.
Jeremy Burton, Attleborough's mayor, said: 'We welcome it.
'It's in the neighbourhood plan and it has been well publicised.
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'We are working with the developers to make sure we get the most out of these houses for the town as we can.'
The proposal is to divide the new homes into three 'neighbourhoods', to be called Borough Lane, Town Oaks and Poplar Meadows. The housing areas would be largely separated by green belts.
READ MORE: New bid for £18m link road south of AttleboroughThe outline plans also include the provision of two two-form entry primary schools, two neighbourhood centres, sports pitches, shops, a petrol filling station and other places of work.
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Seen as crucial to the development is the construction of a £18m relief road to link the A11 London Road and Old Buckenham Road south of the town.
At a town council meeting on Monday Mr Burton and Tristan Ashby, Breckland councillor for Attleborough Queens and Besthorpe ward, both emphasised the need for this road to ease congestion on the town's already stretched network.
Mr Burton said: 'We wouldn't want to see a lot of development before the link road is built.'
An independent Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan has been developed to try to ensure infrastructure and services keep step with new housing, and the town remains a desirable place to live.
READ MORE: Report outlining plans for 4,000 homes in Attleborough is submitted - what do you think?The neighbourhood plan is due to go to a public referendum later this year before formal adoption. Voting against the plan would not stop the houses, but would reduce the input the community has into the development.
The application has been made by Attleborough Land Ltd, which is part Ptarmigan Land Ltd - the project's promoter - on behalf of the land owners.
The planning documents can be viewed at www.breckland.gov.uk/planningsearch, search for 3PL/2017/0996/O
New homes to require new services
The most recent census in 2011 showed Attleborough had a population of just under 10,500 people, living in about 4,500 houses.
An impact study estimates the 4,000 new homes would mean an extra 9,200 residents for the town, practically doubling its size.
The study says two new primary schools planned would create about 120 jobs and an extension of its secondary school would create 60 jobs.
It also said that the region's primary care trust has advised Breckland Council a new doctors' surgery would be needed.
It said: 'The government's preference will be to introduce competition and on this basis a new surgery would be favoured over the expansion of an existing surgery.'
It is estimated that a new surgery would create around 45 jobs. The study, called Attleborough - Potential Impact of 4,000 Additional Homes, was prepared on behalf of Breckland.
Community concerns over plans
Residents have expressed concerns about the effects the expansion will have on the town, and the pressure it will place on health services and other amenities.
Commenting on Facebook, Elizabeth Abbott said the town had already been 'ruined' by poor planning and a lack of infrastructure. She wrote: 'We have no room at the GP surgeries, schools, car parks, no proper sports facilities or swimming pool and now no decent Post Office.'
Cat Ludlow also had concerns, writing: 'The area that is planned to be built on is one of the reasons why we moved here; a house in a small semi-rural town with easy access to the surrounding countryside.
'That notion disappears under then plans.'
Chris Hawkins wrote: 'My view over the back garden will change from a lovely rural view with even deer sometimes spotted and with lots of wild birds to what?
'A concrete urban jungle. No thanks.'
Of the three planned new neighbourhoods, Town Oaks will be the most urban, including a local centre around a high street and community square.
Clustered about the centre will be one of the two new primary schools, shops, a pub, cafe, office space and a community centre.
The Poplar Meadows neighbourhood includes some shops but has more of a rural character, with a lower density of housing. This area will include a 'wetland corridor', allotments and a community orchard.
The Borough Lane neighbourhood will be arranged around a village green with a cricket pitch, football pitches and play areas. The plans also propose a new bus route to loop through the development, and it supports changes to the town centre's current one-way gyratory system.
It also includes a proposal for a new pedestrian bridge over the railway line at Ley Lane, to be built after the first 1,200 homes.