Buttercross, March 13, 2015: Infrastructure issues must be solved before new homes are built around Swaffham

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Recently there has been a great deal in the news regarding housing developments concerning not only our area but also some villages and other towns in our region.

We are being told that we must build more and more homes which has puzzled many. It has certainly been difficult to reconcile this need with our population numbers as we have been told them in the not too distant past.

Now, however, we are being further informed that we have a substantially bigger number of people entering our country than are leaving, the figure being more than 250,000 annually.

That figure is likely to be repeated for several years yet, no matter what steps are taken. The final total before the flow is stemmed is therefore likely to be more than a million as a best guess.

Given these figures it is small wonder that we need more housing. I have a theory that sea levels around us are not actually rising, but our poor island is sinking under the ever increasing weight.

The numbers quoted have no regard for those already in our country and who need housing, particularly our younger people.

Additionally it was stated recently that we have many thousands of existing homes unoccupied in this country, these being in the hands of private landlords.

What a ridiculous situation this is. Will we ever make inroads into these problems ? We live more in hope than expectation.

Closer to home, our town council is now seeking planning approval for a new housing development on the old allotment area known as Day’s Field.

It has been stated officially that our town’s allotment needs can be fully serviced by the present arrangements. This may be so at the present time but what about our future needs in these “green” times and with a certain substantial increase in population in chain?

Day’s Field is outside the present agreed development area and, more importantly, the local existing infrastructure must already be considered to be at full capacity.

The main artery running through our town, the A1065, was actually designated a main road in 1924. Since that time no upgrading has taken place apart from having the bypass constructed around RAF Lakenheath, small alterations at Mundford and the Fakenham bypass.

One can imagine how little traffic used this road in those earlier days, some 90 years ago, but the increase in traffic through our town is now staggering.

The upshot of this is that if we really are expected to have even more development around us then more and better infrastructure needs to be considered as part of any substantial scheme. Otherwise our town will at times just become ever more gridlocked and vehicle movements ever more hazardous. The North Norfolk “rush” is nearly upon us again.

Gird your loins and hold your breath, it could be a long wait for any substantial action such as is required to sensibly develop our town as most would surely like to see it.