Concern over possible plans for 200 homes in Watton

The Watton Town sign. Picture; Matthew Usher.

The Watton Town sign. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Watton could be set for another 200 homes after a housing developer contacted Breckland Council to discuss a potential site.

No formal application has been made by Gladman Developments for the site off Thetford Road, but the developer has asked the council if it would need to submit an environmental impact assessment for the site.

A number of concerned residents have already written to the council's planning department with many worried about the impact more homes would have on the town's infrastructure.

The site is opposite a plot where developer Hopkins Homes is building more than 100 homes.

Breckland council leader Michael Wassell said that discussing an environmental impact assessment does not necessarily mean a full planning application would be put forward.

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He said that should a housing development go ahead on the site he would be concerned about the road safety.

He said: 'This is all hypothetical but if a development did happen you could end up with a situation where two major developments had their entrances and exits almost facing each other.

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'We did argue for a roundabout to be considered for the Hopkins Homes application but Norfolk County Council Highways did not think it was needed.

'There is a housing need across the whole district. Development does require suitable infrastructure, a lot of which is out of Breckland's control.

'In terms of schools and medical facilities we have to try and consult with our partners.'

Keith Gilbert, a Breckland councillor for Watton, also said he was concerned about Thetford Road.

He said: 'Two estates with no roundabout would be an accident waiting to happen.

'If we had known that there might have been a second development we may have been able to look at the sites together.'

The 7.4-hectare site is currently used for agricultural land.

As part of any potential development, open and recreational space could be included and a proportion of the housing would be affordable.

Ron Upton, who has campaigned against another development on Saham Road in the town, said: 'If you add the homes all up, those being built and those with active planning applications, you are talking about another thousand houses.

'The town just does not have the infrastructure.

'You look at the medical centre and there are problems, the junior school is full.

'All the drains are Victorian, they have never been updated.'

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