Councillors agree to over 200 new homes despite ‘traffic buildup’ concerns
PUBLISHED: 08:47 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:00 14 January 2020
More than 200 homes are set to be built in a Norfolk town despite fears over the consequences the development could have on the lives of people living nearby.
Plans to build 216 new homes at Swanton Road, in Dereham, were originally agreed in 2017.
But the scheme was discussed again at a meeting of Breckland Council's planning committee, after the developer's contributions towards schools, health facilities and library services were agreed, and objectors to the plans raised fears over the scheme's transport assessment.
In September, Dereham town council sent a legal letter to Breckland Council which claimed the assessment of the plan's impact Dereham's traffic issues was "defective" and "flawed".
At the meeting, on Monday, January 13, Tony Needham, Dereham town council clerk, said: "Transport assessments are often presented as factual truth.
"They are not - they are a best guess based on people making multiple assumptions about where people will travel to in 15 years' time, when a further 1,000 houses across multiple sites have been built in Dereham."
He added: "The people who are reassuring you that you don't need to worry and everything will be fine won't have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make today - the people in Dereham will."
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While Philip Morton, Green Party district councillor for Dereham, said he was opposed to the plans because of the potential for traffic issues and fears over excess surface water.
He said: "The first traffic issue arises when extra traffic goes down King's Road to Norwich Road. This is going to be the first place where we get traffic buildup.
"The other reason I object to this is surface water - it's a very low lying area but it needs somewhere that water is going."
But the council's lawyer, Michael Horn, told councillors: "It is for experts to give their planning judgement."
And Liz Poole, from Norfolk county council, said: "The view of the highways authority is that there will not be a severe impact as a result of the development."
She added: "Not everybody leaves between 8am and 9am.
"Some people are retired, some people don't work."
The plans were approved by seven votes to four.
The developer is also set to provide a 40pc affordable housing allowance.
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