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Swaffham councillor’s letter raises questions regarding contentious planning development

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A town councillor had a letter read out in a Breckland planning meeting in which she went against Swaffham Town Council’s stance on a contentious new development.

During a the planning meeting last week, it was heard that Shirley Matthews supported an Abel Homes development which will bring 160 new homes, a retail space and 64-bed care home to land off Brandon Road.

Deputy mayor Keith Sandle said it was “despicable” councillor Matthews had gone against the town council’s view through her support of the plan.

He said: “Should a town councillor not support the town council? If you cannot support the town council you need to consider your position.”

Councillor Shirley Matthews
Councillor Shirley Matthews

Mayor Jill Skinner added: “A lot of people were against it in the town. We should listen to the people, surely?”

However, town clerk Richard Bishop said all residents, including town councillors, are “entitled” to have a say on district planning applications if they wish to do so.

Les Scott, who is chairman of the town council planning committee, said he raised concern of the Abel application during the Breckland meeting.

“I highlighted the fact that extra traffic will cause more pollution and I referred to the air quality action plan,” he said.

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