Mattishall fears over 90 homes plan
- Credit: Archant
People in one of the country's largest villages fear they are to become the latest victims of a planning loophole which could see 90 new homes built on greenfield land on the edge of their neighbourhood.
Gladman Developments has begun a public consultation over plans to build the homes on former agricultural land in Mattishall and requested a 'screening opinion' from Breckland Council over whether an environmental assessment will be needed with their expected planning application. But the news has sparked an outcry from concerned villagers who have come together to form an action group to fight the proposal, fearing the homes will be forced upon them by national inspectors even if Breckland decides to overturn it, because the district council has yet to identify a five year supply of land for new homes.
In a consultation document sent to 190 homes and businesses in Mattishall, the Cheshire-based developers, who pride themselves on gaining residential consent for landowners of greenfield sites, explain that every council is 'required by the Government to boost significantly the supply of housing and to make planning decisions in the light of a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
'Breckland District Council do not presently have a five-year supply of housing land. Approval of this development will help towards addressing the present shortfall of housing within the district.'
Gladman is promising that 40 percent of the new homes on the site off Dereham Road would provide affordable housing for local people, there would be a public open space with recreational facilities included in the site and new landscape planting and it 'will provide new homes to sustain the vitality and viability of the local community'.
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But even if their planning application is refused objectors say they expect Gladman to appeal and say that, going on their current track record, they are more than likely to win support at a national level with an inspector supporting the supply of housing over local concerns. Land speculators, such as Gladman, have been criticised in other parts of the country for 'playing the system to concrete over villages'.
Gladman's website proclaims: 'We seek to secure planning permission quickly - think 14 months not 10 years.'
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Anna Loake, who lives on Dereham Road, said: 'We are not against development per se but the location proposed in this case is probably about the worst they could have chosen. The development is outside the development boundary and has many other negatives against it including seasonal flooding, a dangerous road, traffic and parking issues.'
Mattishall Parish Council says development of this size has already been rejected as part of its local development plan while other residents have also voiced individual concerns.
Anna English, who lives in South Green, said the doctor's surgery and school would be heavily affected. 'Such density of housing upsets the character of the village,' she said. 'I believe this is already the biggest village in Breckland; it is in danger of becoming a small town, without a town's amenities.'
While Marie Walker from Welgate added: 'It's the tactics and fact that the local planning process is completely failing us that annoys me.'
A spokesman for the district council said: 'Breckland's housing strategy is part of our 2001 to 2026 development plan and there is more than three years remaining on the plan's current housing supply. All planning applications are assessed against both Breckland's planning policies and national criteria which consider issues such as access to infrastructure, flood risk, impact on the landscape and sustainability.'
Gladman promises to provide any feedback from its consultation to the local planning authority and anyone wanting to comment can do so via its website www.your-views.co.uk/mattishall or write to: Your Views Mattishall, Gladman House, Alexandria Way, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1LB.
* The first action group meeting will be held on October 15 at 7pm at Mattishall Memorial Hall. All are welcome.
* What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.