Fears that approval of 375 new homes in Attleborough will open floodgates to other developments

The approval of a 375-home development before a plan for Attleborough's expansion is agreed has opened the floodgates to uncoordinated major developments, the town council warned.

Breckland councillors meeting yesterday backed a modified version of plans for land between London Road and the A11 they had rejected in June.

Planners said previous objections about the impact of extra traffic were not valid because Norfolk County Council highways was happy with mitigation measures proposed by developer Taylor Wimpey, including traffic lights at the junction of Exchange and Connaught Streets.

Councillors had also raised concerns the development was premature because the Attleborough and Snetterton Heath Area Action Plan (Ashapp), designed to guide the town's future as it expands by 4,000 new homes by 2026, has not yet been agreed.

However, planning officer Nick Moys told councillors the government had recently given 'short shrift' to councils who rejected major housing developments on the grounds of prematurity if they did not have five years' supply of housing land. Breckland has identified a 3.41 year supply.

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The new application includes 25 one-bed homes, 43 two-bed homes, 238 three-bed homes, 41 four-bed homes and 28 five-bed homes, and 3.9 hectares of land for employment uses.

A quarter of the homes will be affordable, below the council's target of 40pc, but the borough valuer accepted Taylor Wimpey's argument the higher figure would make the development unviable.

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Councillors approved the plans by 10 votes to one.

Attleborough mayor Samantha Taylor had told the committee she knew of two or three other developers who had held back major plans, but would no longer wait because Taylor Wimpey could have an advantage.

Speaking afterwards, she said: 'It's piecemeal development on a grand scale and unfortunately Attleborough has suffered that.

'We have doubled in size in 20 years and not got anything from it and we are now about to double again in the next 15-20 years and the fear is that we are not going to gain anything from that development as well.'

Town resident Stephen Hinde said: 'We have three other developers waiting to hear the result. They will be sharpening their pencils and there will be no joined up thinking.'

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