Housing developers given £477k bill for extra Swaffham Junior School places

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Developers will have to pay almost half a million pounds to provide extra places at Swaffham Junior School if two major new housing schemes in the town are to proceed.

The figure, which would provide dozens of new places, was set out in reports to the Breckland Council planning committee, which examined the proposals at its meeting yesterday.

One, seeking outline permission for 130 homes on land off Sporle Road, was approved, subject to the completion of legal agreements and a limitation of the size of the development.

But the other, bidding to build 165 homes to the north of Norwich Road, was deferred so more information could be obtained on drainage issues in the area.

The applications were debated just days after Swaffham’s town council launched its bid to develop a neighbourhood plan, setting out a vision of future development in the town.

And, while traffic and flood risks are major concerns of both community leaders and residents in relation to the latest applications, education is the area where the would-be developers face their biggest bills.

The applicants, Manor Oak Homes and deMarke Estates, would have to pay a total of £477,000 between them towards 41 additional places at the junior school if their plans are to go ahead.

The documents said capacity is available at both infant and secondary school levels, so financial contributions are not needed there.

But officers added: “With the existing permissions the junior school is now deemed full, and Norfolk County Council would therefore seek contributions to be used to fund internal remodelling to provide additional class places.”

The developers could also have to pay around £17,000 towards additional library resources and almost £80,000 towards new green infrastructure.

In the Sporle Road case both the town council and a local rambling group highlighted that the site borders the old railway line, which is now a popular public footpath.

Officers said the site was sustainable, if adequate access could be provided.

But they warned that measures would need to be implemented to address the impact of the scheme on the landscape.

The report said: “It is considered necessary that any outline permission be subject to conditions requiring a detailed scheme of mitigation planting and landscaping and conditions setting an upper limit of 100 dwellings.”