Road safety concerns raised over Hockering housing plans

Hockering village sign.

Hockering village sign. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Road safety issues and over-development are among the concerns which have prompted planners to recommend the refusal of a proposed housing development in a village near Dereham.

At its meeting on Monday, Breckland's planning committee will discuss an outline application for up to 18 dwellings in Hockering, of which seven are proposed as affordable housing.

The site, outside the defined settlement boundary for the village, would be accessed via a single access onto Heath Road, which is regularly used by commercial traffic.

In their response to the plans, county highways officers said, due to the number of HGVs using Heath Road, the current visibility 'splays' at the entrance to the planned development would 'not be appropriate in this instance'.

Hockering Parish Council is 'unanimously' and 'strongly' opposed to this application.

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Its statement to planners says: 'Hockering village already has an imbalance in the number of low-cost houses, as opposed to properties that could support and help the school, bus service, village shop and pub.

'The site entrance/exit leads straight onto a road calming area. Heath Road is a dangerous road, as witnessed by the serious accident which took place on November 1 when an HGV drove straight into three cars parked at the side of the road.

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'This development will mean an increase in traffic and potential parking issues. It is a potentially dangerous proposition.'

A planning officer's report to the planning committee says: 'It is evident from the indicative plan that providing 18 dwellings on this site would create an overly dense development for this edge of village location, which is characterised by a lower density and more loose-knit arrangement.

'The requirements of the Highways Authority to increase visibility splays from the site access, given that Heath Road is an HGV route, and the creation of a footpath along the site frontage onto Heath Road, would necessitate the removal of the vegetation along the site frontage.

'This significant boundary treatment represents an attractive and prominent feature within the street-scene and as such there is concern at the significant impact its loss would have.

'In conclusion, notwithstanding the lack of a five-year housing land supply within the district, the application has failed to demonstrate that the site can accommodate the level of development proposed and fails to satisfy the requirements of the Highways Authority.

'On this basis the application is recommended for refusal.'

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