‘Anger is at fever pitch’ - ‘Baffled’ MP objects to plans for 255 new homes

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A Norfolk MP has voiced concerns about a controversial scheme to build 255 homes on the edge of a market town.

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

George Freeman, who represents Mid Norfolk, is worried about a lack of infrastructure and traffic problems and is objecting to the proposals on a 17.2 hectare site off Yaxham Road and Dumpling Green in Dereham.

His letter comes a month after the developer of the site, Hopkins Homes, lodged an appeal against Breckland Council’s decision to reject the plans in January 2020.Mr Freeman said he was “baffled” the applicant had not put more resources towards reducing the amount of car use in the area.

He said: “This site has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, when combined with the level of development that has been taking place in Dereham, public anger and frustration is at fever pitch.

“The fact several parts of the town regularly come to a standstill at peak times of the day (and, increasingly, at non-peak times) because of congestion is a source of great frustration for many.

Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture Matthew Usher.

Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

“Walking and cycling routes are something that I have argued merit serious consideration within a wider traffic plan for Dereham and, although I understand that this application does make some provision for such a route through the site, I have been made aware of anxieties about its effectiveness.

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“I am baffled as to why the applicant has not directed greater resources towards developing a far improved walking and cycling network for the application.”

After years of deferrals by Breckland Council, members of the authority’s planning committee eventually voted the plan down - against the advice of the council’s planning officer.But now Hopkins has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, saying the development would provide “significant benefits”.

Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: “There is a great need for additional housing in the district of Breckland and the proposed development would bring forward such housing in a sustainable location.

The plot of land off Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture: Google Maps

The plot of land off Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Googel

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“In addition to delivering this much needed housing the proposal would also provide significant benefits to the community including more than £1 million towards education, healthcare provision and library services.

“The application was recommended for approval by the council’s planning officer who concluded that the scheme was a sustainable development. As such, we consider that there is a good reason to pursue an appeal against the refusal.”

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