Public consultation on Swaffham housing development to be held at George Hotel

Proposals for a new, mixed-use housing development in Swaffham are due to be discussed at a public m

Proposals for a new, mixed-use housing development in Swaffham are due to be discussed at a public meeting. Picture: Abel Homes - Credit: Abel Homes

Proposals for a new, mixed-use housing development in Swaffham are due to be discussed at a public meeting.

Tony Abel, chairman of Abel Homes.

Tony Abel, chairman of Abel Homes. - Credit: Archant

The plans have been drawn up by family business, Abel Homes.

They will see 34 acres by Swan's Nest and Redland Park, two other Abel Homes developments, converted into a site including approximately 160 new homes.

The proposals will also see a health centre, local shops, a retirement village, and a care home all built on the Brandon Road site.

It is intended to be a mixture of affordable family homes, and supported living accommodation, with a care home and medical centre for the needs of both families and elderly residents.

A public consultation on the plans will be held at the George Hotel, Swaffham, on Wednesday October 4, from 4.30 - 8pm.

Abel Homes chairman, Tony Abel described Swaffham council as 'broadly supportive' of the project. The company was founded in 1995, and has a reputation for creating contemporary and sustainable homes. Recent developments in Hingham and Swaffham have respectively seen 88 and 427 homes built over a period of 3-4 years.

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Managing director, Paul LeGrice said: 'The industry has a reputation for just wanting to build houses.'

But, he added, this mixed use development will see new infrastructure for the existing area being incorporated into the building plans. 'New housing can create capacity issues for the NHS', Mr LeGrice said.

He added that 'its difficult to argue the case that over a hundred new homes will help traffic, but the fact we're putting in other infrastructure means it will help the traffic problem'.

'People can walk or cycle to the shops, and just pop down the road for a pint of milk rather than getting in the car.'

The plans are still in the consultation stage, which Mr Abel described as: 'a collaborative process, which takes into account what local people have to say. The idea is to hear ideas and opinions before putting in the application.

'Its very seldom these don't go ahead, as we always talk to people first, and listen to local opinions.'

There has previously been 'strong opposition' to new homes in Swaffham.

In 2016, a resident described two Norwich Road schemes as 'not economically, socially or environmentally sustainable'.

Swaffham town council clerk, Richard Bishop, said that the council 'hasn't debated the ins and outs of the plans yet'.

He added: 'one concern is whether this will add pressure to the Brandon Road'.

Discussing the new proposals and the existing Swan's Nest and Redland Park site, he said: 'Around 600 houses are being built in the area.

'Whatever actually comes from the development will add pressure to the Brandon Road.'

Developers hoping to have Swaffham build underway by early 2019

The proposals for the site, which are currently in the consultation stage, consist so far of an outline plan.

This is a general overview of the site, which pays attention to access points, highways, and drainage.

A detailed application for individual areas of the site will follow later.

Drainage for foul and surface water will be dealt with at the Swan's Nest site. Developers say this indicates that the new development will be 'future-proofed'.

Archeological, ecological, and horticultural aspects of the site are also dealt with at this stage of the planning process.

Mr Abel and Mr LeGrice hope to be starting on the non-housing elements of the site by early 2019. They plan to get the shops and health services along the main road established before beginning on the housing.

They added that while 'you can never satisfy everyone', the company is 'struggling to build homes quickly enough' to satisfy demand.

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