Council backs plans to build 120 homes in Harleston

Plans to build 120 homes in Harleston have been backed by town councillors, but with a number of provisions.

Persimmon Homes (Anglia) has applied to South Norfolk Council for permission to build the homes with open space, attenuation lagoon, roundabout access and off-site highways works on a greenfield site north-west of Briar Farm, Mendham Lane.

After a public exhibition earlier this year detailing the proposals, many residents voiced concerns that the town's services and infrastructure would not be able to cope.

But the town's planning committee heard on Wednesday that local schools, doctors and dentists had all confirmed they had the capacity to meet the needs of the proposed development, so the councillors agreed to support the application in principle,

Speaking after the meeting, town council chairman Eric Bird said: 'We can't reject houses just because we don't want them – there have to be legitimate planning reasons, and, in this case, all the planning issues have been addressed.

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'So, as we can't stop it, we decided to go along with it and get the best deal we can for Harleston.'

The committee has suggested a number of provisions, including: a new public sewer; a significant allocation of affordable housing to residents within Redenhall and Harleston or people with a local connection; a multi-use games area on the recreation ground; and for bird-friendly features to be incorporated into the design of the new homes.

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They also raised concerns about the number of private roads on the site, due to the problems that can arise later with unadopted roads.

Mr Bird added: 'The government has been the driving force behind this – it says how many millions of houses have to be built across the country and it gets passed down to us. I think the government is wrong: look at how many houses are already for sale and how many are unoccupied or derelict.

'Towns like Harleston are having these developments imposed on them. But we as a town council can't do anything about it – we can only make our feelings known and get the best deal we can: for example, getting as many affordable homes as we can for young people in the town.'

As part of the government's drive, Harleston has been earmarked for up to 300 new homes by 2026.

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