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Plans to build industrial estate on land off A47 in Swaffham deferred amid row between developer and flood authority

Hopes to build an industrial estate near a town have been put on pause amid an ongoing row between a developer and flood experts.

Despite two years of negotiations, applicant Padley Property has failed to find a compromise with Norfolk County Council over its plans to construct the units on land off the A47 in Swaffham.

Breckland Council members were due to make a decision on the scheme last Tuesday but they chose to defer due to the deadlock.

Where the site could be built on land off the A47 in Swaffham. Picture: Google Maps
Where the site could be built on land off the A47 in Swaffham. Picture: Google Maps

The disagreement centres around the proposed drainage measures for the site, with the county’s lead flood authority (LLFA) believing there is not enough evidence to prove it will not prevent flooding elsewhere.

Breckland planning officers recommended the scheme be refused on this basis.

However, there has been a swell of support for the scheme from the town’s council.

Councillor Judy Anscombe described how locals are eager for the bid to be approved in the hope it will provide much-needed employment and economic opportunities for Swaffham – a town that suffers from a lack of jobs.

A representative of the applicant said they were “incredibly disappointed” and that they had struggled to see “eye to eye” with the LLFA, arguing there was no history of flooding at the site and he threatened they would appeal the decision if refused.

LLFA officers reiterated there was not enough evidence to say the plans, which include deep infiltration drainage measures, would not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

Councillor Gordon Bambridge urged caution, highlighting there had been problems with flooding caused by developments elsewhere in the district.

A call to defer the decision was put forward to give more time for a compromise to be found but there was scepticism that this would be achieved after two years of disagreements.

The applicant pleaded for a final decision to be made on Tuesday but members voted to defer to a later date.

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