Plea for more affordable homes

At least 40 pc of any housing development across mid Norfolk should be made affordable under an extensive strategy compiled by Breckland Council. According to the authority's Local Development Framework, (LDF) a total of 19,000 homes and at least 6,000 new jobs will be created across the district over the next 20 years.

At least 40 pc of any housing development across mid Norfolk should be made affordable under an extensive strategy compiled by Breckland Council.

According to the authority's Local Development Framework, (LDF) a total of 19,000 homes and at least 6,000 new jobs will be created across the district over the next 20 years.

But the blueprint which is expected to see investment worth £1bn over the next 20 years could now be upgraded to include special provisions for much-needed cheaper homes.

Up until now every development of 25 properties in urban areas and five houses in villages had to include up to 35 pc of affordable homes.

However, councillors and officers are now looking to lower the threshold, meaning that for every three houses built anywhere in the district, one should be made affordable.

Andrea Long, environmental planning manager for Breckland Council told the Breckland policy development and review panel meeting: “We looked at our local needs and found that every development should provide a minimum of 40pc affordable homes,”.

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The draft LDF outlines a vision for the district, looking at key issues such as housing, transport, employment, environment, and economic prosperity.

As one of Breckland's most deprived areas, Thetford is likely to see up to 6,600 houses by 2026 - a figure which will be corroborated with a significant number of jobs - up to 5,500 by 2021. Expanded retail, cultural, educational and leisure facilities are expected to revitalise the town and attract even further investment.

Dereham, which is already undergoing an important development, which will see a new shopping complex, complete with 15 shops behind the High Street, will get around 1,000 new houses over the next 20 years. Officers also expect up to 1,800 jobs to be created over the same period.

Attleborough will also get around 4,000 new homes as the A11 corridor is set to be improved to create residential growth and a hotspot for employment.

Smaller centres such as Swaffham or Watton will be regenerated through the building of 600 and 350 new homes respectively.

Gordon Bambridge told the meeting he conceded that development in towns was much needed, but raised concerns over the share that villages will receive as part of the strategy.

“It is important to recognise that people don't move to towns only. Villages also get new people and to be able to cope with an increase in the number of residents we need to make sure that we get a proportionate share of development,” he said.

Councillors also expressed fears that economic and demographic growth might not happen unless existing infrastructure is upgraded.

The panel will meet again on November 8.

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