Harleston must make best of new housing, residents told

Up to 300 more houses will be built in Harleston, the annual town meeting was told on Wednesday, and the town must make the best of it.

Town council vice-chairman Eric Bird said concerns had been expressed about how the town would cope if Persimmon Homes gets the go-ahead to build 120 properties on greenfield land off Mendham Lane.

However, he pointed out that the government had decided that 200-300 homes had to be built in Harleston before 2026.

'It's not negotiable,' he added. 'We know it's going to happen, so our approach is to get the best out of it we can by building a relationship with the developers so that Harleston benefits from any growth.

'We can't resist the inevitable.'

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He said the schools had room for the expected increase in pupil numbers, although the nursery lacked provision, and the dentist was still open for new NHS patients. The problem at the GP surgery was not capacity but a difficulty in recruiting doctors.

Chairman Roger Plant said: 'It will never be good enough in the future to say we don't want new housing, or we don't want commercial development if it means an increase in traffic or overcrowding of current amenities.

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'We have to say we welcome all well-considered development, because that's what keeps communities alive and progressive, particularly with regards to jobs and businesses. It might not be to the liking of all, but if it keeps Harleston alive for future generations, then that's what counts.'

He added: 'Harleston isn't a rural museum; it has to be a dynamic forward-looking community, with job creation and sustainable development.'

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