Concerns over homes plan

A developer has reassured people in Swaffham that a massive new estate on its outskirts will not overburden the town's roads with traffic.A public meeting in the town on Wednesday drew concerns from the public that the planned 400-home estate in Brandon Road would be too isolated and force people to use their cars to get into town.

A developer has reassured people in Swaffham that a massive new estate on its outskirts will not overburden the town's roads with traffic.

A public meeting in the town on Wednesday drew concerns from the public that the planned 400-home estate in Brandon Road would be too isolated and force people to use their cars to get into town.

The agents for the development, Bidwells, said the plans were at an early stage and they were working with Norfolk County Council to provide proper pedestrian, cycle and public transport links into the town centre.

Bidwells said that Norwich- based Gladedale (Anglia) hoped to submit outline plans for the development by the beginning of next month, together with detailed plans for first two phases of the development.

The estate, on the former Redland Tiles site, would include about 120 affordable houses and a large play and sports area and the developers will also pay towards education, library facilities and outdoor sports areas in the town.

The development would be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses and one-bed flats and would be accessed off Brandon Road via an improved junction.

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It would be built in up to six phases, with hopes that the entire estate would be finished in about five years.

Speaking after the meeting, Breckland and town councillor Ian Sherwood said he still had worries that the site was too remote.

He said: “A number of members of the public expressed what I consider to be valid concerns about the infrastructure and ability of the town to be able to cope with another large development.

“My personal fear is that it is really on the edge of the town and whether there are sufficient links to allow people to walk, cycle or take the bus into the centre.

“If there is not then there could easily be an extra 600-800 cars that are going to be coming into the town.

“A market town such as Swaffham thrives on people being able to get into the centre easily and I am keen to see this does not become a satellite community.”

Dennis Tallon, partnership manager with the community group the Iceni Partnership, said: “My feeling is the site is too far out of town and there needs to be proper cycle routes or pathways to allow people to get into the town safely.”

Alison Macnab, planning associate with Bidwells, said: “We are talking to Norfolk County Council about pedestrian routes, cycleways and an extension to the town's bus service.

“We are very keen to have the development fully integrated into the town of Swaffham so that people can access the facilities and amenities without having to rely on their cars.”

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