Homes scheme in Hockering approved to enable artisan bakery Sourdough to expand

14 homes were given planning approval by Breckland Council in Hockering, off Park Lane. Picture: Tr

14 homes were given planning approval by Breckland Council in Hockering, off Park Lane. Picture: Trundley Design - Credit: Trundley Design

A new development of 14 homes on land in Hockering has been approved in order to give a growing business the opportunity to create new jobs in Breckland.

Hockering Village Sign. PHOTO; Matthew Usher

Hockering Village Sign. PHOTO; Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

The district planning committee was presented with an unusual application by the owners of artisan bakery Sourdough which is based on Rashes Green in Dereham.

The Hockering site on Park Lane is owned by the business and the housing scheme was designed to help the business raise enough funds to relocate to larger premises in the district.

The report to planners, who met on Monday, said the owners wanted to respond to customer demand but had insufficient space to expand.

It said: 'The company is expected to increase turnover by £17.5 million over the next five years, creating 86 new jobs. In order to deliver this growth the business requires new premises. Funds are to be secured through this planning permission for 14 dwellings on land outside the designated settlement boundary in Hockering, currently owned by the applicant.'

Part of the site is brown field industrial land which used to be occupied by Fresh Direct, but this closed on July 12 resulting in the loss of 39 jobs.

But it also takes in agricultural land to the north of Park Lane.

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Planning officer Rebecca Collins said there were a number of factors against development in that area.

'It is quite a distance from the settlement boundary and people on foot would have to walk along the A47 to access Hockering,' she said. 'The footway is very narrow and quite overgrown with no safety barrier.

'The brown field site would be considered acceptable but the northern site would have landscape impacts and would be out of character.'

But she said as its development would enable a business to grow and create new jobs it led to their recommendation for approval.

Parish council chairman Richard Hawker said they were concerned that it would set a precedent for further development of green field sites. 'This is just too far away from the village to be connected to it,' he said.

But planners approved the application by a vote of eight to two and agreed a number of conditions including ensuring Sourdough relocated within Breckland.

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