Plans for more than 200 homes near NDR recommended for approval

An aerial shot of the NDR at Rackheath in 2016. Photo: Mike Page

An aerial shot of the NDR at Rackheath in 2016. Photo: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

More than 200 homes could be built on land parallel to the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, with councillors set to decide on the proposals next week.

Buckinghamshire-based homebuilder Taylor Wimpey last year applied to Broadland District Council for outline permission for a development of up to 205 homes near Mahoney Green in Rackheath.

The application relates to a parcel of land intersected by the £205m road, though homes are only proposed to the east of the road, with the developers looking to create heathland on the west.

While only at the outline stage, the developers have indicated the project could deliver 68 affordable homes - the equivalent of 33pc of the overall development.

The scheme is recommended for approval, however, council officers have criticised the applicant's approach to ecological surveys included with the application.

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A report going before the committee says: 'Surveys have been completed and generally these are of an acceptable standard but contain some discrepancies and omissions in relation to the scope of ecological work.

'There is insufficient information regarding the proposed heathland creation and there are inherent problems in establishing this habitat.'

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The officer said further discussion was needed over great crested newts, Barbastelle bats and breeding birds.

The report states the site is close to ponds used as mitigation for the newts which had to be moved in June 2016 to make way for the road, which is now known as the Broadland Northway.

It adds: 'The applicants are obviously also reluctant to provide anything further on Barbastelle bats. The NDR project included a huge amount of information on the use of the area by bats.

'This information is publicly available and it would surely have been sensible to consider this in any assessment, but again, we have to accept this is not going to be provided.'

The development will also come with the extension of a 30mph speed limit along Green Lane West, off which the site's access points would be placed.

The application is due to be decided by members of Broadland District Council's planning committee at its next meeting, on Wednesday, October 3.

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