Planning – Dereham

15th January 2020

It is no secret that I have deep concerns about the high number of applications in our part of Norfolk – many of which are, often, highly inappropriate and on a scale that is unsustainable and out of keeping with the heritage and identity of our largely rural area, clearly breaching the sustainable development criteria set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and 2011 Localism Act.

That’s why I am pleased to hear that, on Monday, Breckland Council’s Planning Committee refused permission for the deferred application for 255 homes on land east of Yaxham Road/south of Dumpling Green in Dereham.

While I agree with the principle of ‘development’ (what society or civilisation has flourished without it?), I believe that any new development should be appropriate to the area in question – accompanied by the infrastructure and services necessary to support it. The answer isn’t to allow aggressive out of town developers to simply dump massive housing estates on rural communities like ours. We require a more local and organic approach to deliver vibrant villages and thriving towns – tailored to the needs of local people already living in them, and sufficiently ready to welcome those looking to join them. (It is for this reason that I set up The Norfolk Way back in 2007 – a not for profit campaign championing smaller pockets of local housing for local people, small businesses back in the countryside and better connectivity).

Due to serious concerns that this application threatened to undermine public trust in our planning system and would exacerbate Dereham’s pre-existing problems with traffic congestion, I wrote to Breckland Council last summer to support widespread local concerns about the proposals. (To read more about this, click to read my previous update here).

I am reassured that, having deferred the application at that time to allow for more work to be carried out, councillors on the Planning Committee have recognised that the basis for those concerns remain and how now decided therefore not to allow it to go ahead. (To read more about the decision, click here to see the recent Dereham Times article).

This all reaffirms the need for a proper strategic Dereham Town Plan and I remain committed to supporting Dereham Town Council, along with all the other groups involved, as they look to bring one about. As part of that, I am also determined to continue working with local councillors and agencies in order to try and bring about a proper solution to the terrible traffic problems that plague parts of the town – especially at the Tavern Lane/Yaxham Road Junction.


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