Views sought on plans for major Swaffham development

Hundreds of Swaffham residents have been invited to a public exhibition next weekend to give their views on the latest plans for a massive housing development in the town.

Ben Bailey Homes already has permission to create a 400-home estate on the 10.7-acre former Redland Tiles site on the Brandon Road.

But now, nearly two years after councillors gave developers the initial go-ahead for that scheme, they have decided to alter the plans and re-apply for planning permission.

The main change will be a reduction in numbers by 65 from 400 homes to 335.

But whereas the original plans included a large number of flats, the new application will be for a mixture of two, three and four-bed houses only.

Each property will have at least two parking spaces each, an increase on the previous proposals, and the developer also intends to include more open space in the layout of the site.

Ross Brodie, of the Gladedale Group, parent company of Ben Bailey Homes, said: 'It is important that we get the right development at this important gateway site for Swaffham town centre. We have therefore been taking the time to review matters with the district, town and county councils to make sure that we deliver such a scheme.'

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This week, a letter was sent to 315 homes and local councillors in the neighbouring area.

In it Geoff Armstrong, of Development Planning Partnership (DPP) and writing on behalf of Ben Bailey Homes, invites local people to an exhibition of the plans on Saturday, May 21.

The developer hopes to gauge public opinion to the updated proposals before submitting a new planning application late next month.

Representatives of the company will be available to answer questions.

Mr Brodie said: 'We will then use this to refine and improve the scheme.'

Ben Bailey Homes originally submitted its application for the site in 2007, requesting full planning permission for the first 143 homes and outline permission for the remaining 257.

It had hoped to begin building as soon as the following year but it took nearly two years to get the go ahead from councillors following negotiations over affordable housing, financial contributions to off-site sports facilities and transport.

At the time, local people also raised concerns about an increase in traffic levels in the town.

Planning permission was eventually granted in June 2009.

Mr Armstrong said plans for highways improvements in the area would be retained in the new proposals.

The exhibition will take place at the Assembly Rooms, in Swaffham, on Saturday, May 21 from 1pm until 6pm.

Anyone unable to attend can send their thoughts on the plans to DPP at West One, 63-67 Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2FG, or email geoff.armstrong@dppllp.com.

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