District braced for 11,600 new homes

A masterplan of Breckland's future reveals that more than 11,600 homes will be built and up to 8,000 jobs created over the next 14 years.

A masterplan of Breckland's future reveals that more than 11,600 homes will be built and up to 8,000 jobs created over the next 14 years.

Next week the public will receive its first glimpse of Breckland's Local Development Framework (LDF), a document that will shape the district until 2021.

The draft version shows that growth will be concentrated in Thetford, with extensive housing to its north and east, new shops and offices in a revitalised town centre and off the A11 Norwich-London road, more rail services, a new bus station, new primary schools and expanded secondary schools.

Dereham stands to gain fewer homes but should expect another major new town centre shopping complex the size of Wrights Walk, a regenerated Market Place and a new bus station to enable it to “remain the main shopping, public transport and administrative centre in mid-Norfolk”.

Attleborough is also touted for sizable commercial growth, including a new town centre supermarket and A11 business park, new or expanded schools and 4,000 new homes by 2026, either on land between the A11 and the railway or to the south of the railway.

Projected new housing drops to three figures in Swaffham and Watton, with some commercial growth around the EcoTech Centre at Swaffham but with a limited number of new shops and offices overall and a focus on bolstering their roles as market towns.

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Land along the A11 at Snetterton Heath will continue to be developed as a hub for hi-tech and engineering businesses, according to the framework.

David Spencer, principal planning policy officer at Breckland Council said: “The focus on redeveloping the centre of towns in the plans is about underpinning their vitality and ensuring they are attractive and vibrant places for the next 15 years.

“If we are creative there is an opportunity to meet all our shopping needs in our town centres and retain wealth within Breckland.”

The LDF says that development is hampered across much of Breckland because of a lack of infrastructure and public services. Another key issue it will be tackling is the dire shortage of affordable housing in Breckland, as the district is falling way short of the 965 low-cost homes it needs to build every year.

The framework will try to address this by insisting that four out of 10 of all new homes in developments of three houses or more should be classed as affordable.

It also sets out the need to develop a 13-caravan permanent travellers' site along the A11 or A47 Norwich to King's Lynn road by 2011, in addition to a short-stay travellers' site at Thetford.

Last year, there was widespread opposition to “garden grab development” - people cramming new homes on to gardens - and the LDF will seek to deal with this by giving planners more power to reject plans that are out of keeping with the area.

Breckland Council is holding a series of drop-in sessions where people can view maps and plans from the draft LDF and give feedback to planners. There will be a second round of consultation on a revised draft LDF in July and a public examination next year before it comes into effect at the end of 2008.

t Future growth in Breckland 2006 - 2021

Thetford - 5,000 homes, 1,500 - 2,000 jobs, 9,500 square metres major retail

Attleborough - 2,100 homes (4,000 by 2026), 200 - 300 jobs, 4,750 square metres major retail

Dereham - 1,000 homes, 900 - 1,800 jobs, 12,500 square metres major retail

Swaffham - 600 homes, 300 - 650 jobs, 850 square metres major retail

Watton - 350 homes, 150 - 250 jobs, 300 square metres major retail

Snetterton Heath - 500 - 1500 jobs

Rural - 1,500 jobs, Shipdham 100 homes, Harling 50 homes, Great Ellingham 50 homes, Narborough 50 homes

There are also 2,365 approved homes yet to be built across Breckland.

Drop-in sessions will be open from 10am-2pm and 5pm-7pm and will take place at: Dereham Library, March 20, Wayland House, Watton, March 21; Attleborough Community and Enterprise Centre, March 22; the Carnegie Room, Thetford, on March 27 and the Assembly Rooms, Swaffham, on March 28.