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Decision day over 260 new homes for west Norfolk market town

PUBLISHED: 08:06 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:28 28 May 2019

A masterplan for 160 homes, a residential village, care home and retail facility in Swaffham. Picture: Abel Homes/Savills

A masterplan for 160 homes, a residential village, care home and retail facility in Swaffham. Picture: Abel Homes/Savills

Abel Homes

Councillors will today decide whether to approve two planning bids which would see a combined 260 homes built in a west Norfolk town.

Breckland Council could rubber stamp two separate proposals for developments in Swaffham at its planning committee on Tuesday, including a major mixed use application from Abel Homes.

This bid, for land off Brandon Road, would see up to 160 homes built, along with up to 40 assisted living houses, a 64-bed care home and 650m/sq of retail space.

The proposals would make use just over 32 acres of farmland and has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The same, though, can not be said about proposals for up to 60 homes from Woods Hardwick Planning Ltd at Princes Street in the town - which officers have tipped for refusal.

However, with these recommendations simply there to provide guidance to committee members, it is possible that both - or neither - could be given the go ahead by the councillors.

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Both applications have been met with trepidation from Swaffham Town Council, with concerns over how the town could cope with the proposed growth.

Jill Skinner, mayor of Swaffham, said: "We have a large problem with traffic as it is and new development always brings more and more cars.

"Particularly with Princes Street it would become terribly congested if the homes are approved and this is a view shared by quite a few of us on the town council."

These are concerns that have been echoed by members of Norfolk County Council's highways team, which has objected to the scheme.

Concerns over the Brandon Road development, meanwhile, have been raised by the Campaign for Protection of Rural England.

Michael Rayner, CPRE's planning campaigns consultant for Norfolk, said: "The intent to build on open greenfield should be resisted while other solutions less harmful to the environment and countryside are considered."

However, between the retail units and care facilities included in the development, it has been indicated up to 85 new full time job vacancies could be created by the development.

Both applications appear on the agenda of Breckland Council's planning committee, which is being held on Tuesday, May 28.

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