Village to get 85 new homes - but no GP surgery

A planning application for 85 new houses, in East Harling, was discussed at Breckland Councils plann

A planning application for 85 new houses, in East Harling, was discussed at Breckland Councils planning committee. Pictured, Breckland Council Offices, in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans to build dozens of new homes in a Norfolk village have been agreed by councillors.

A planning application for 85 new houses in East Harling was discussed at Breckland Council's planning committee.

And the meeting, on Monday, February 10, saw councillors agree to the scheme - despite it extending outside of the area's settlement boundary.

Land north of Kenninghall Road and south of Quidenham Road was initially slated for development in August last year.

The original vision for the site included plans for a GP surgery and 101 homes.

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But the scheme was amended to reduce that figure to 85, and the proposed surgery was dropped from the application.

An officers' report published ahead of the council meeting said the application area largely fell in land allocated for development.

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Rebecca Collins, head of major projects at the council, said there were a number of objections to the scheme over the amount of houses initially proposed and the access road being outside the allocated land area.

She also said the Highways authority was "concerned about the development's visibility splays" - where the access route widens out to meet another road - but said the applicant had given reassurances that changes could be made to the layout.

Helen Crane, Conservative councillor for Saham Toney, said: "We're constantly being asked by residents whether we can add trees. Is this something that can be considered?"

And the planning officer said landscaping issues would be discussed at the reserved matters stage, following outline planning permission being granted.

Keith Gilbert, Independent councillor in Watton, added: "Is it necessary to have houses off the access road as it is outside of the settlement boundary?"

But Ms Collins said: "I think it would be quite barren to have just a road along the site at the entrance to the open countryside. That doesn't mean we can't landscape it another way.

"It's up to the applicant to design something."

The plans were approved, with all councillors bar one voting in favour. But the scheme is subject to a further 21-day public consultation, as the area of land has been amended, but will only have to be voted on again if Highways concerns are raised.

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