Lawyers issue new warning over proposed 100-home development

Breckland District Council

Breckland District Council said the matter was "not for reconsideration" - Credit: Ian Burt

Planning officers at a Norfolk council are continuing to recommend that a 100-home development be approved - despite the repeated insistence of lawyers that it fails to provide at least £220,000 for an off-site outdoor sports space. 

At a meeting of Breckland District Council’s planning committee on Monday February 15, councillors will look at the proposed housing on land east of Westfield Road in Toftwood.

The plan was meant to go to committee in December, but was deferred when a letter was sent by Leathes Prior Solicitors on behalf of Dereham Town Council, claiming there were “fundamental flaws” in an agreement signed by Breckland and Persimmon Homes. 

The planning application made for the site at Westfield Road in Dereham, has been agreed. Picture: I

The 100 homes are set to go up on land east of Westfield Road in Toftwood. - Credit: Archant

A new letter from Leathes Prior to Breckland, sent on February 11, warns: “We fear that the council does not properly appreciate the severe consequences which will follow if it fails to take necessary steps now to remedy its error.”

Currently, Persimmon Homes are set to provide Breckland with £76,548 to cover the cost of laying out and maintaining about 3000sqm of off-site space.

The solicitor says however that the land value of this space should have been included in the agreement too - and warns that a “conservative estimate” of this cost is £220,000. 

During a Dereham Town Council meeting last week, town clerk Tony Needham said: “They [Breckland] seem to be of the view that there’s nothing they can do about it - it’s been signed, it is what it is, and it’s going to go to committee on February 15, with a recommendation for approval.”

Dereham town clerk Tony Needham said the keyfobs would cost about £1,000. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham town clerk Tony Needham

A Breckland Council spokesman said that only the five reserved matters of “access, appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale” could be considered at this stage.

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“Whilst layout refers to ‘open space’, this only concerns the way these spaces are orientated and situated, not what the precise provision should be,” said the spokesperson.

“The matter of what the provision of open space should be was determined at the outline application stage… It is not for reconsideration now.”

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes Anglia said in December: "In addition to meeting the policy requirement for play space on the development and the financial contribution to off-site outdoor sport provision, we will also be installing a BMX pump track facility on site, as specifically requested by Dereham Town Council.”

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