Dereham residents unite to raise concerns about Orbit housing plans

District councillor Alison Webb organised an informal meeting for residents objecting to new homes i

District councillor Alison Webb organised an informal meeting for residents objecting to new homes in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A group of residents in Dereham have begun formulating a strategy to voice their concerns about a planning application which could see almost 300 homes built close to their estates.

Their goal is to show a collective front which will provide them with a stronger means of expressing concerns and objections about the proposal put forward by Orbit Homes for 285 homes to be built on Greenfields Road and Wheatcroft Way.

Most recently they began nominating members of the community who will represent them under the title of Residents' Spokesman and they have been putting their concerns down in writing and sending letters to the planning committee at Breckland.

Their strategy came together following an informal meeting on June 5, which saw more than 75 residents attend, as well as representatives from Dereham Town Council, Breckland councillors and Norfolk county councillors.

It was organised by district councillor Alison Webb, who said: 'I wanted to bring everyone together because I kept getting feedback from individuals and yet when I was going to meetings to speak about the development I noticed that nobody was there.

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'Despite all the feedback there was no co-ordinated approach and so when I called an informal meeting I didn't really know what kind of reaction there would be. When over 75 people showed up it was a really big surprise.'

During the meeting a big range of objections were brought up, including the close density of the housing, potential sewage problems, traffic issues and a lack of appropriate play areas and green space.

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Since then Mrs Webb has been advising the community on their objections and giving them a better understanding of what can and can't be done.

'As part of the meeting we talked about taking concerns forward and people have now begun writing in. The planning committee has had a significant number of letters since and the upsurge is prompting them to take another look at it,' said Mrs Webb.

With Breckland Council set to hear the application on July 31, Mrs Webb will hold another informal residents meeting at 6pm on July 17 and with better co-ordination this time around she says she expects even more people to attend.

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