Has Ministry of Defence objection put ‘nail in the coffin’ for controversial bid for 1,650 new homes near RAF Lakenheath?

Peter Callaghan, chairman of Brandon Town Council and Ali Barnes, member of Brandon Community Union,

Peter Callaghan, chairman of Brandon Town Council and Ali Barnes, member of Brandon Community Union, both oppose the application to build 1,650 homes on a site (pictured) in west Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

Objections from a government department could have put a 'large nail in the coffin' to controversial plans to build 1,650 new homes near a market town, residents have claimed.

Talavera Estates has applied to build the homes and a new relief road on agricultural land west of Brandon, including an area of Weeting – just 1.07 miles away from RAF Lakenheath.

The application, submitted in 2015, would offer a range of amenities to the town, including a health centre, primary school, public parks, retail development and a new extension to the town cemetery.

The builder argued that the scheme would provide temporary construction jobs and employment opportunities, as well as boost the town centre.

But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has joined those opposing the bid, saying the application has 'failed to demonstrate that the issue of noise has been sufficiently considered'.

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Concerns were been raised in a letter from the MoD about vibration affecting buildings and the loss of agricultural land being replaced by housing.

Neighbours hope the MoD's opposition will mean the bid is rejected when it is heard by Forest Heath District Council's planning committee.

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Penny Etherington, Brandon town councillor and secretary of the Brandon Community Union – a group set up in opposition to the scheme – said: 'The MoD have put, I think, quite a large nail in the coffin. The residents welcome it. We were delighted to read it.

'The infrastructure is not in place to support that number of houses.

'We do not disagree with having expansion in Brandon but we don't want to ruin the town.'

Talk of the development has caused uncertainty within the town, with residents unsure about what will happen in the future, what the effects will be and when it will be decided.

According to the plans, approximately 100 houses would be built each year over 15 years, with the last constructed in 2031.

But residents and wildlife organisations have opposed the plans, with Natural England saying the proposed site is 'in close proximity to two European designated sites' which are also protected areas in Breckland due to conservation.

Talavera Estates has not yet responded to approaches for comment.

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