Breckland hits housing land supply target

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Breckland Council now has a five year housing land supply in place.

As part of the National Planning Policy Framework all planning authorities are required to identify sufficient specific deliverable sites to deliver the next five years of housing provision.

Without this in place it has given developers a loophole for submitting applications for large scale developments outside settlement boundaries, often on green field sites.

Sarah Robertson, senior planning policy officer at Breckland, told this morning's planning meeting that as of October 1 this year the authority had identified a 5.6 year housing land supply, with 4,139 deliverable dwellings expected to be built over the next five year period.

She said: 'It is important for us to have robust evidence. We have visited all the sites with planning permission to see the build rates, written to large applicants to see their delivery rates to plan which sites will come forward as we may be required to give evidence to a planning inspector in case of appeal.'

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Councillor Harry Clarke said: 'It is helpful to have this updated as it has been crucial in determining applications.'

But Phillip Duigan, mayor of Dereham, said he felt build rates were 'optimistic'.

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He said: 'The most we have done in the past two decades is 800 a year so I think this is very optimistic going forward. If they don't get built we will come back to the same problem we are in now.'

He asked that there be some guidance to assist councillors when determining applications outside settlement boundaries.

Simon Wood, Breckland business manager, said there may still be opportunities to develop outside boundaries such as being next to a sustainable settlement.

'We won't be looking negatively on every application just because it is outside a settlement boundary,' he said.

Mike Brennan, operations and contract manager, said there was always a risk that the five year supply would slip.

'The availability of finance and mortgages are part of what drives development forward and a lot of that is outside our control,' he said.

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