Homes plan approved but affordable homes portion branded 'meagre'

The Shipdham village sign.

The Shipdham village sign. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant.

Plans for a 23-home development have been approved despite the number of affordable homes being branded “meagre” by a local councillor. 

On Wednesday, plans for the 1.1-hectare site on a former nursery in Shipdham, near Dereham, were heard by Breckland Council's planning committee.  

Plans for development on the site go back 10 years, with a 30-home scheme first rejected in 2011. 

Outline permission was granted for 23 homes but detailed planning was refused due to the “unacceptable impact on highway safety” and large agricultural vehicles needing to use the junctions.

Council officer Chris Hobson recommended the new plans for approval, saying the scheme was generally the same but with "considerable changes off-site”, including retaining Old Post Office Street for use by larger vehicles.  

Ahead of the meeting, 41 objections were raised by residents, as well as Shipdham Parish council and the ward councillor Paul Hewett. 

Shipdham Parish Council argued that the development's four pedestrian crossings were too many, saying: “The application appears to over-engineer a solution to a problem of its own making that is the number of houses planned for the plot.  

“We are concerned that this application offers nothing for the community of Shipdham and everything for the developer and landowner.” 

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Paul Hewett, the ward member for Shipdham, welcomed development on the site but raised concerns about the roads and the amount of affordable housing. 

He said: “I remain unconvinced that the developer will actually deliver on the meagre agreed affordable target so reluctantly offered.” 

Mr Hewett called on the committee to protect the community and ensure obligations are fulfilled.

The applicant has agreed to provide two affordable homes on-site and financial contributions totalling £92,349 towards local education and library facilities. 

Residents also raised concerns about flooding in the area, but a report to councillors said the area was low risk.

A speaker on behalf of the developer said the majority of rainwater will be stored in underground tanks and discharged at a slow rate.

The development was unanimously approved.

The plan's approval comes as plans go in to demolish the former Waggon and Horses on Chapel Street, which has been used for residential and retail purposes since the pub closed in 1956.

If planning permission is approved the new development would see two, two-bedroom and five three-bedroom affordable homes with parking and landscaping erected in place of the former pub.