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Controversial bid to build 255 homes in Norfolk town could finally be approved

PUBLISHED: 14:00 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 15 July 2019

More than 250 homes could be build off Yaxham Road and Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture: Google

More than 250 homes could be build off Yaxham Road and Dumpling Green in Dereham. Picture: Google

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The fate of a 250-home development in a Norfolk town is finally due to be sealed next week - a month after controversially being fast-tracked to committee.

Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman was highly critical of Breckland Council discussing plans for 255 homes before the end of its consultation. Picture: Ian BurtMid-Norfolk MP George Freeman was highly critical of Breckland Council discussing plans for 255 homes before the end of its consultation. Picture: Ian Burt

Last month, Breckland Council was asked to consider Hopkins Homes plans to build 255 homes on a site off Dumpling Green in Dereham - despite the latest round of consultation into it being yet to expire.

This saw Capita - the council's arm's length planning department - come under severe scrutiny from Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, who said it was running the risk of losing the public's trust.

However, when the application came before the committee last month the decision was deferred - just as it was in 2014.

Now though, the plans are set to come before the committee one more time, potentially ending a journey of almost a decade, with Hopkins having first submitted the bid in 2010.

Yaxham Road in Dereham, where 255 homes could be built. Picture: Ian ClarkeYaxham Road in Dereham, where 255 homes could be built. Picture: Ian Clarke

And as was the case last month, officers have recommended that the committee give the green light to the plans - despite fierce opposition locally.

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Since the last committee meeting, a number of further issues have been raised around the application, including a call from Norfolk County Council for the developers to pledge almost £900,000 to education in the area.

Should the application be approved, the county council would seek £897,408 from Hopkins to mitigate for additional strain on the two schools nearest by - Toftwood Infant School and Toftwood Community Junior School.

The Westfield Lane bridge, which could be strengthened as part of a new housing scheme in Dereham. Picture: Ian ClarkeThe Westfield Lane bridge, which could be strengthened as part of a new housing scheme in Dereham. Picture: Ian Clarke

Meanwhile, both Dereham Town Council and Yaxham Parish Council have lodged further concerns around the impact of the proposed development, relating to transport and drainage.

Tony Needham, Dereham town clerk, said the council felt as if two transport surveys carried out since the application was deferred in 2014 had been ignored.

He said: "By 2025 it is projected that the Tavern Lane junction will be operating over its design capacity by 30pc and the Lynn Hill mini-roundabout by 20pc.

"In what circumstances is it rational to allow something to function significantly over its design capacity?"

Yaxham Road in Dereham, where 255 homes could be built. Picture: Ian ClarkeYaxham Road in Dereham, where 255 homes could be built. Picture: Ian Clarke

Breckland Council's planning committee will consider the application once more on Monday, July 22.

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