Have your say on development ideas for Swaffham

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More than 1,400 new homes could be accommodated in Swaffham over the next two decades, according to a new council document.

The figure is contained in a proposed local plan for the Breckland district which, if approved, would set the framework for development across the area until the year 2036.

The document covers ideas on a range of issues, including housing, employment, protection of the environment and the designation of local green spaces.

Residents are being encouraged to take part in an eight-week Issues and Options consultation on the proposals, which will be launched next week.

And a drop-in event is to be held at the town’s Assembly Rooms on Monday, November 24, between 2 and 6.30pm.

Council chiefs say they have decided to draw up a new plan following the government’s move to scrap regional development plans and give local authorities more power to set their own agendas.

But they are also keen to stress that the proposals are at a very early stage and far more detailed assessments of lands brought forward by landowners will be required.

Mark Kiddle-Morris, the council’s executive member for assets and strategic development, said: “The Local Plan will be a key strategic planning document that will shape the future growth of the district and set out the policies used to determine planning applications.

“I would urge everyone to take part in the consultation and make their views known.

“The online consultation sets out the issues and options in detail, and we have also organised open events where people will have the opportunity to talk to officers and ask questions.”

The report suggests that as many as 700 new homes could be needed across the district every year over the next 22 years.

Although almost half of the proposed development is concentrated around the Attleborough area, lands in and around Swaffham account for just under nine per cent of the total which is thought to be suitable for development.

That is the third highest proportion in the district behind Attleborough and Thetford.

The papers show that 20 sites in and around the town have been assessed, with 10, all situated to the east, believed to be fully or partially suitable for development.

Officials say the remainder cannot be taken forward at the moment, for varying reasons such as flood risk or access.

Elsewhere, a total of 180 additional homes are envisaged in the nearby village of Necton, with another 312 proposed for Narborough. A further 46 are proposed in the Litcham area.

The consultation opens on Monday, November 17, and will close at 4pm on Friday, January 9, 2015.

Comments on the ideas can be made via an online consultation page at www.breckland.gov.uk/content/emerging-local-plan.

Alternatively, email planningpolicyteam@breckland.gov.uk or write to Planning Policy Team, Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham NR19 1EE.