Agenda item

ATTLEBOROUGH: Land South of Attleborough: Reference: 3PL/2017/0966/O: Comprehensive mixed use urban extension (up to 4000 dwellings, a local centre, 2 neighbourhood centres, 2 primary schools, green infrastructure, playing fields, other amenity areas & means of access (including a new link road between Buckenham Road and London Road)) (Agenda item 6)

Repotr of the Executive Director, Place.


The outline planning application was for up to 4000 dwellings, a local centre, 2 neighbourhood centres, 2 primary schools, green infrastructure, playing fields, other amenity areas and means of access (including a new link road between Buckenham Road and London Road).  This outline application proposed a residential led mixed use Sustainable Urban Extension located to the south of Attleborough.  All matters except for all principal means of access were reserved for subsequent approval.


Simon Wood, the Director of Planning & Building Control presented the report together with the supplementary report that had been recently issued.


Representations were made in respect of the application in accordance with the Council’s scheme of public speaking at Planning Committee meetings:


Applicant:                                            Hugo Kirby (Ptarmigan/Attleborough Land)


Applicant’s Agent:                               John Long (John Long Planning)


Attleborough Town Council:                Elizabeth Wrigley (Core Connections)


Old Buckenham Parish Council:         Steve Milner


Gt Ellingham Parish Council:              Tim Betts (Chairman)


Residents:                                           Sandie Howard, Alexander Holdom,

                                                            Jean Bornett, Joy Shorecross, Ali Clabburn,                                         Elizabeth Fletcher and Elizabeth Burrows


Since the publication of the agenda and the supplementary report, four additional letters of representation had been received and another representative had requested to speak at the meeting.  Three of the letters contained concerns in relation to:


·        Highways, in particular a point about a link road that should be provided from Foundry Corner;

·        the link road being designed not to encourage HGV vehicles;

·        the management of green spaces;

·        the lack of sports provision and areas for recreation;

·        details of the foot bridge;

·        the timing of the build of the link road;

·        the dwellings being built so close to Banham Poultry; and

·        Hargham Woods (a wildlife area).


The Director of Planning & Building Control responded to the aforementioned concerns.


In terms of the first point, a link road from Foundry Corner did not form part of this scheme and was not required in highways terms.  The Committee would only be considering the scheme as submitted.


In terms of the second point, the link road had been designed for HGV movements around the town; however the precise design had not as yet been agreed and would be dealt with as a later matter.


The management of green spaces, sports provision and preserved areas in terms of recreation would be explained later in the presentation.


Details of the footbridge, utilities and pollution and the timing of the link road had all been dealt with in the report.


In terms of dwellings being built near to Banham Poultry, there had been no objections from the Public Health Officer and this issue would be addressed through the Reserved Matters stage.


In relation to Hargham Woods, no objections had been received from the Statutory Consultees in relation to ecology.


The fourth letter was from a Planning Agent, acting on behalf of Norfolk County Council, in relation to the emerging Local Plan which again would be discussed in more detail later in the presentation.  The letter also stated that Norfolk County Council would be making representation in relation to the main modifications about land holdings that it had close to the urban extension area.  This would be brought forward through the planning process; however, it was noted that these modifications did align in terms of site area with that of the submitted application.


The presentation slides were then shown and each slide was explained. 


The opening slide highlighted the area of land to the south and south east of Attleborough - the application site.  The ‘indicative’ Master Plan gave a broad indication of various land uses, their relationship to each other the route of the link road with a corridor either side, different areas of residential development, areas of open space connecting the site from north to south and from east to west, with lagoons and SUDs attenuation for drainage and the street hierarchy within the development. It was noted that this ‘indicative’ plan would not be subject to Member approval at this meeting.


The Director of Planning & Building Control explained that there had been some concern in relation to the fact that the application included a small parcel of land within Old Buckenham parishes’ administrative area.  He pointed out that it was highly unlikely that this land would be built on and the application had been amended accordingly, allowing Old Buckenham to keep its separate identity.  Any changes would need a variation to the Parameter Plans and would be subject to an application process.


The Parameter Plans were then highlighted.  These Plans formed part of the application and if Members’ were minded to accept the recommendation, this would then form part of the approval.  The development would need to be carried out broadly in accordance with these Parameter Plans and any changes to the parameters would have to be dealt with through variations.  This was an outline application seeking the principal of the development and the principle points of access onto the existing highway network.  The remaining matters in relation to landscaping, precise layouts, scale and design of the development would be dealt with through the Reserved Matters applications; a series of formal applications that would be subject to full consultation, and would effectively be detailed planning applications that already had the principle of development established.    The Parameter Plan highlighted the various land uses, including sports pitches, residential and a number of character areas (the details of which had been set out in the report at page 61 of the agenda pack). 

One of the Character Plans being considered was in relation to densities, it was explained that the lighter the colour the lower the density and in terms of building heights, again, the lighter the area the lower the height of the buildings. 


The Landscape Strategy Parameter Plan highlighted sufficient and extra open space provision. It had been considered by Officers that this was going to be an extremely green development with the Linear Park providing plenty of opportunities for cycling and walking.  The Linear Park would be a key part of the scheme.  Some of the areas would be used to accommodate surface drainage attenuation, allotments and community orchards, the details of which would have to be agreed when they eventually came forward in the Reserved Matters stages.


The Access & Movement Parameter Plan shown was also explained.  Access into the site would be taken from the existing network. There were three main elements of highways works which would have a direct access onto the existing highway network; these were:


·        provision of the link road connecting London Road with Old Buckenham Road;


·        provision of a roundabout on Old Buckenham Road connecting with the High Street of the proposed development;


·        changes to the west bound entry slip of the A11 at the Breckland Lodge Roundabout; and


·        alterations to the existing access from Slough Lane to build in additional capacity.


All the highway works had been agreed in principle but the detailed design would be considered through the Reserved Matters stage. The Link Road included a road bridge across the main line railway and discussions had been ongoing between the applicants, Council Officers and Network Rail in relation to this provision. It had been agreed with Network Rail and the Highway Authority that the link road needed to be completed and operational in advance of the occupation of the 1200th dwelling.  The S106 Agreement would include triggers to ensure that this would happen. However, if additional funding came forward the link road could be brought forward at an earlier stage and this would be considered as a material benefit to the scheme.


The original Link Road submission included vehicular access onto the northern element ofHargham Road.  This proposal had generated many objections.  Further modelling work had been carried out and it had been decided, in consultation with the applicant and the Highway Authority, that it would be more appropriate not to have any vehicular access from the Link Road on to Hargham Road.  The Director of Planning and Building Control was aware that there were still a number of concerns with this revised proposal, in respect of both ends of the road being closed to vehicles but this was considered to be the best solution in highway terms.  The link road junction to Buckenham Road was also highlighted. This would be a roundabout junction that would serve the development and would have continued access into Attleborough and to the south; it would also serve the Bunn’s Bank industrial estate.  There was a desire, subject to making sure that the design was up to the appropriate standard, to look at a minimal design to help preserve the setting of Bunn’s Bank, subject to standards.  There was also another roundabout proposed on Buckenham Road to provide access into the north and the south of the development, again this would be subject to detailed design.  There was also some changes to the junction at Slough Lane; however, whilst there would be no direct access into the development, there was a possibility further along Slough Lane to provide a frontage of dwellings, mainly self builds to retain the character of the area.  An acceptable solution had been found in relation to the Breckland Lodge A11 slip road and Highways England no longer objected to the scheme.  Again, triggers for all these works would be controlled by conditions and a S106 Agreement. Various photos of the key areas were then shown. 


One key element of the scheme was the provision of a foot bridge over the level crossing at Leys Lane.  The indicative details indicated a stepped foot bridge.  This would not have a ramped access due to site constraints and a flat surface route would be provided early in the development via the Gaymer Industrial Estate to the station and the town centre for users with mobility issues; however, the Ramblers Association had raised concerns about the suitability of this route.  Notwithstanding the acceptability of this scheme, Network Rail had provided an alternative scheme and had submitted details of a costed and fully drawn up ramped foot bridge across the rail crossing at Leys Lane on land within their control.  Discussions with Network Rail had resulted in an agreement that they could provide the foot bridge and the applicants/developers could contribute towards the costs.  This would also be secured through the S106 Agreement and a decision would have to be made as to the preferred option at a very early stage of the development.  It was considered that the benefits of the scheme far outweighed the relatively minor harm it would cause to a small number of existing dwellings.


Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 was explained and the main relevant Development Plan Policy documents were highlighted. 


Further material considerations included the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) issued February 2019, National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) and the emerging Breckland Local Plan. 


Paragraph 8 of the NPPF had, at its core, the approval of sustainable development: economic objective, social objective and environmental objectives.  These were interdependent and needed to be pursued in mutually supportive ways so that opportunities could be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives. 


Paragraph 11 of the NPPF refers to Housing Land Supply, and states that plans and decisions should apply a presumption in favour of sustainable development (see relevant presentation slide attached).  The current 5 year housing land position stood at 4.77 years; therefore the most important policies for determining the application were out-of-date.  It had been concluded that the lack of a 5 year housing land supply was a relevant material consideration under the NPPF that should be awarded significant weight in favour of this application. 


Paragraph 109 of the NPPF, in relation to Highways, indicated that development should only be prevented or refused on highway grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impact on the road network would be severe.  Norfolk County Council as the Local Highway Authority and the Highways Agency as the body responsible for the A11 trunk road had raised no objections subject to conditions.


In terms of Flood Risk, there had been extensive discussions between Officers within the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), the Local Planning Authority and the consultants representing the applicant.  As a result, no objections had been received (paragraphs 155–165 of the NPPF applies), and conditions would be recommended to ensure that flood risk was properly mitigated. 


Ecology & Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) – no objections had been received from statutory consultees and concerns expressed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust had been addressed (paragraph 177 of the NPPF applies). 


Heritage Assets.  The main heritage asset impacted by the proposed development was the Bunns Bank Scheduled Ancient Monument.  Special regard and significant weight had been given to ensure complete protection from harm.    Historic England had identified less than substantial harm to the setting of this Scheduled Ancient Monument in line with the advice at paragraph 196 of the NPPF.  The following assets had also been identified, including Round Barrow on Hargham Heath, a Grade II Listed Building ‘Old Hall’ and associated moat, Grade II Listing Buildings, Potmere Farm’ and its associated pair of barns. 


Affordable Housing.  Policy DC4 of the Core Strategy sets out a requirement for a development of this nature to provide 40% affordable housing and the emerging Local Plan Policy HOU7 proposes a 25% level of affordable housing.  However, a caveat within the Policy allowed for a reduction to the percentage level where the costs of the development were considered to be extraordinary due to existing physical constraints which would result in development becoming unviable. Due to significant infrastructure costs, 10% of affordable housing had been proposed over the whole of the development and as part of the S106 Agreement it had been recommended that a review mechanism would be included at regular intervals to provide for a possible uplift in affordable housing.


Infrastructure provision was significant to this scheme and included:


·        a Link Road

·        a pedestrian foot bridge

·        two 2 form primary schools

·        a local centre – including community building

·        two neighbourhood centres

·        an outdoor sport and recreation provision

·        allotments/community orchards; and

·        NHS provision either on-site or off-site.


The ongoing management and maintenance for the scheme was explained (see presentation).  The Structuring Plan proposed would include various matters and the S106 Agreement would make provision for the long term maintenance of public areas, community facilities and drainage areas etc.


Whilst a Phasing Plan had been submitted (see presentation) this was classed as indicative and was likely to change over time.  The Director of Planning & Building Control advised that the Structuring Plan would provide firmer details of phasing over a scheme that would last approximately 25 years and would commence towards the end of the Breckland five year housing land supply period (see Appendix 1 of the agenda pack).    The development would be developed from east to west and the delivery of the scheme would be controlled by conditions and the associated S106 Agreement.  Reserved Matters applications would propose much of the detail around landscaping, open space provisions, design and layout and would be guided by the principles as set out in the application.  Further to the above, there would also be additional Heads of Terms applied (see Appendix 2 of the agenda pack).


In conclusion, and following the planning balance being read aloud, the Director of Planning & Building Control urged Members to support the application.


John Long (John Long Planning) the applicant’s Agent and Hugo Kirby (Ptarmigan/Attleborough Land Ltd) the applicant were in attendance.  Other relevant representatives were in attendance to answer questions.


Mr Long felt that this was an important milestone in the process which had taken nearly 10 years of hard work to get to this stage with many people involved along the way.  It had been a team effort and it had been remarkable as to what had been achieved when a strategic scheme such as this was brought forward on a collaborative exclusive basis.  The preparation of this proposal had involved a committed applicant, a skilled consultant’s team, representatives’ from the County, District and Town Councils, statutory bodies and most importantly the involvement of the people in Attleborough.  From the schemes inception, the approach had been to engage, discuss, reflect and respond to the issues and challenges a scheme of this size and complexity threw up.  Many changes had been made along the way but everyone involved were now confident that the scheme before the Committee was the best that it could be.  The engagement work would continue over the coming months and years and hopefully Members could see that this application reflected the true colours of collaboration and was supported by most of the local community.  A great deal of hard work from all concerned had gone into this application to ensure that this would be a place where people would enjoy living. 


Mr Kirby then spoke and pointed out that Ptarmigan Land, a strategic land promoter who was proud of this exciting project, had been working closely with the community and the Town Council as a scheme like this one had its own unique challenges which he had done his best to address and accommodate.  The scheme reflected a good planning balance and if Members’ voted in favour of the application the hard work would continue.  It was estimated that work would commence on site in mid 2020 with the first homes being occupied in 2021; this was quite a demanding target but he was confident that this could be achieved.  Ptarmigan Land would continue to be heavily involved in the process and would take the scheme through each stage of the development process and the site would be sold in phases, a long term project that would take many years.  A number of housebuilders had already expressed an interest in the scheme even though it had not, as yet, been marketed.  Delivery would be a challenge for large and complex schemes, with over £90m of infrastructure costs, and the link road would be secured as soon as possible.  Other benefits which would be delivered in the early stages of the development were highlighted.  Mr Kirby finished by saying that it had been an absolute pleasure working with everyone involved and for producing this exciting scheme and he urged Members to approve the application.


Ward Members were then invited to speak but Councillor Joel asked if the Parish Council could have the opportunity speak first.


Mr Steve Milner from Old Buckenham Parish Council recognised that the SUE would have the potential to bring many benefits to the region; however, the Parish Council objected to the application based on the following grounds:


·        infrastructure – Old Buckenham did not have any health care provision of its own and relied on Attleborough for such care, a particular concern was surgery provision which was already over stretched and according to the NHS consultation there was not enough capacity;

·        traffic impact on the village – the 22% prediction of extra vehicles was incorrect as vehicles would take shortcuts through Old Buckenham, and the link road needed to be in use before development commenced;

·        the Attleborough development should remain within its own boundary and if the area of land in Old Buckenham was not going to be developed why include it;

·        public transport – was non-existent  for residents and he asked that the development plan should include Old Buckenham.


Tim Betts the Chairman of Gt Ellingham Parish Council drew Members’ attention to page 30 of agenda pack which highlighted the comments submitted by the NHS.  He felt that potential healthcare should be provided as a matter of urgency and asked the Committee to secure funding for an additional health care centre.  He also felt that the closure of Hargham Road to vehicles would not be a good idea as it would lead to other roads being used as shortcuts.  He also suggested that vehicles should be allowed to turn left onto the link road and not turn right and that this issue should be reviewed with Norfolk County Council (NCC) Highways. Members’ attention was then drawn to page 52 of the agenda pack where the concerns raised by Great Ellingham Parish Council had been included and he highlighted the affect that the link road would have on some of the villages’ road network.  His main concern was in relation to HGVs which when heading towards Dereham would take a route through Great Ellingham.  He urged Members and Officers to have further discussions with NCC Highways.


Councillor Joel, a Member of the Breckland Planning Committee and also Ward Representative for the Parish of Old Buckenham was delighted to see several residents from his Ward in attendance.  He pointed out that 15 acres of this Attleborough development land was actually in the parish of Old Buckenham; this land was known as Bunns Bank and any development would have an impact on this heritage asset.  Referring to the link road, he agreed with the comments made by Great Ellingham Parish Council as Historic England had also raised concerns about the position of the link road near to this heritage site.  He also mentioned the flood risk and pointed out that surface water could flood into Old Buckenham Fens and as for the parcel of land that fell within Old Buckenham Parish, he asked for this land to be removed completely.


Councillor Keith Martin, a Member of the Breckland Planning Committee and a Ward Representative for Attleborough was pleased to see so many people in attendance.  He, himself, had been a resident of Attleborough for 72 years and a District Councillor for 36 years and he knew that people were weary of change and although he had been involved from the very start of this process, the Hargham Road junction still remained one of the main concerns.  The link road; however, would be welcomed as it could only be classed as a positive for the town.


Elizabeth Wrigley the Planning Consultant who had worked with Attleborough Town Council to produce the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan over the last three years had just a few detailed points that she wished to raise: 


·        the need to divert the heavy traffic from the town centre;

·        The Linear Park - the jewel in the crown that Attleborough Town Council would like to manage and maintain and work with Anglian Water;

·        Heritage sites and historic hedgerows and historic boundaries;

·        the link road would be the road of choice for HGVs;

·        future management - the community should be involved.  The Town Council would be issuing a brief for various uses and the Community Centre should be ready for use at the earliest occupation of homes,

·        the position of the link road; and

·        Hargham Road.


Sandie Howard, a resident, had lived in Hargham Road and had not been consulted and she had received a letter stating why she had not been consulted. She wanted to know how the traffic was going to get to the site if Hargham Road was closed.  She also felt that indoor sports facilities should be considered.


Alexander Holdom also a resident was pleased with the footbridge crossing and the provision of some allotments.  However, flooding would be an issue and drew Members’ attention to Potmere Farm, a 350 year old listed building which he pointed out on the map.  A culvert had been installed in 1950 and the link road would be built over it and he asked how this would be maintained.  Another point raised was in relation to all the new builds and he felt that all public buildings should be built facing south so solar power could be used.


Jean Bornett a resident of Old Buckenham Parish made some pertinent points about the parcel of land being included in the proposal and pointed out that onlyAttleborough residents had been allowed to vote on this matter.  She mentioned the Thetford parishes that had been absorbed into Thetford which she did not want to happen to Old Buckenham.  A clear green line was required otherwise this would be the beginning of the end.


Vanda Morgan was in attendance as a personal representative and on behalf of a group of residents from Foundry Corner.  Foundry Corner was a rat run and was getting worse and HGVs should be stopped from using this route and she reinforced the request to put the link road in first prior to any development to prevent these rat runs.


Joy Shorecross also a resident paid particular regard to paragraph 8.12.7 of the assessment notes appended to the agenda pack that stated special regard and significant weight had been given to the protection of the heritage assets and to ensure compete protection of harm.  One of the benefits included the new foot bridge at Leys Lane for the benefit of new and existing residents to allow for the closure of existing level crossing(s).  She felt that the problem of closing existing level crossings had not been addressed.  Residents who used the Poplar Farm crossing and the Fowlers Lane crossing would lose their access rights to their properties.  At the Leys Lane crossing, people would have to walk an additional mile.  Photos were then shown of Poplar Lane crossing.  Network Rail had agreed a foot-link bridge as long as the others were closed and she felt that this would constitute more harm than good and should be reconsidered.  She drew attention to paragraph 8.2.6 of the Assessment Notes which stated that there would be no provision for vehicular traffic from the new development to access the site’s existing ‘internal’ roads, such as Leys Lane, Poplar Road, Burgh Common etc.  She had noticed that those areas earmarked for development on the map were inaccessible unless there was a crossing and pointed out that if the crossing was closed, and access was not allowed from the development, the people living within Poplar Road would not be able to get out of their properties and would have to be airlifted.


Ali Clabburn a local resident who had lived in Attleborough all his life felt that the vision for the town should be driven by employment opportunities and had been disappointed that no employment land had been included.  He felt that the congestion in the town was going to get worse and should be resolved prior to any development. Employment was his major concern and the application needed to be phased with employment as well as housing.  The final point was in relation to the provision of more cycle routes.


Elizabeth Fletcher another Attleborough resident who had lived in the town for 18 years had studied the document in great detail.  She pointed out that Norfolk in 1989 had been free of traffic but had increased dramatically over the last 20 years and the traffic in the town was often gridlocked.  She mentioned the housing development and she hoped that huge estates would be avoided as these new build areas needed to harmonise with the traditional environment.  There had been much thought gone into this planning application and she hoped that these large rural areas would not be urbanised.


Elizabeth Burrows said that the Linear Park had raised the most interest due to the fact that Attleborough had very little open space to walk and exercise and the vision of a park that went from one side of the town to the other was a point of huge interest.  However, what she wanted to avoid was a series of alley ways through the housing developments and the vision be kept of a wide pathway park that allowed for cycling and walking.


The Chairman felt that a short break should be taken at this point to allow Officers and representatives to respond to all the issues raised.


Following the break, Liz Poole, Norfolk County Council Highways, responded to the concerns raised in relation to Hargham Road and pointed out that the scheme being considered as part of the application was just an indicative scheme.  She assured the Committee that when the link road came forward other options could be considered and she would be more than happy to engage with people to discuss that particular junction.  As far as the rat runs were concerned, as these matters did not form part of the application, they were a matter for NCC Highways Area Officer to consider.  In terms of the construction traffic, a Management Plan would be put in place for each phase of development to ensure that the traffic was using appropriate routes.


Mr Kirby (Ptarmigan/Attleborough Land Ltd) stated that they were working very hard for early delivery of the link road but no plans could be confirmed until planning consent had been given.  The local community centre could be expanded so to make enough room for a health centre and the width of the Linear Park would be protected by the Parameter Plan.  There was provision for sports facilities for public use and the Old Buckenham issue was an oversight and was a protected green space that could not be built on.  In terms of employment, there was already employment on Victory Park and Bunns Bank, and employment in Snetterton would be promoted.  No crossings were being closed but what Network Rail did would be down to them.  As for cycling networks, these formed a very important part of the detail and the next stage of the process would be even more detailed and everyone would have the opportunity to be involved.


Referring to the heritage assets, the Director of Planning & Building Control stated that special regard and significant weight had been given to the protection of these assets to ensure complete protection from harm.  He then drew attention to the application itself and assured all those in attendance that the Parameter Plans were tied to the consent and all Plans and Strategies, S106 Agreements and the Masterplan would be derived from those Parameter Plans.  As for the construction traffic, Traffic Management Plans would be implemented and in terms of flooding, down-stream flooding had to be addressed and could not lead to impact elsewhere.  The culverts were known, and these would be addressed and properly designed in with the application.  Climate change and sustainable construction would be a major part of the scheme going forward and the points made in respect of Network Rail, unfortunately, were not within the gift of the developer.  As for parking, there were initiatives, and funding was underway to address parking issues.  There were also plans for a new shopping area.


Members of the Planning Committee were then given an opportunity to put their questions forward.


Councillor Bowes asked if anymore could be done in relation to an additional surgery and more healthcare provision going forward. She also asked about the employment area and the timescale for delivery of the whole project.


The Director of Planning & Building Control advised that there was a substantial provision of land for a new surgery, and if this land was not taken up by NHS England, a significant funding allocation would be provided.  As far as employment was concerned there was employment land identified elsewhere in the town and in terms of delivery, the developer anticipated starting on site in 3 to 4 years but it would be many years later before completion.


Councillor Duigan asked what would happen if there was a significant departure from the indicative plan. Members were informed that the Parameter Plans had been derived from the Master Plan and as such there would have to be a formal process put in place, such as further consultation, if any major changes were made.


Councillor Sharpe referred to the document circulated at the meeting by Joy Shorecross that mentioned the crossings being closed and asked if this was a condition applied by Network Rail and if it was actively being pursued.  Members were informed that lengthy discussions had been had with Network Rail as well as with the Agent.  Network Rail had started off by stating that certain crossings must be closed but this did not form part of the scheme and was not in the Council’s gift - extinguishing private rights was not part of this scheme and could not be conditioned as such.


Councillor Sharpe also asked about the allegation of residents being possibly landlocked on Poplar Road.  In response, the Agent assured Members that there was no prospect of this happening and the allegation was incorrect.


Councillor Darby felt that the foot bridge should be user friendly for all concerned.  He asked the Highways representative if there was going to be any network built in the plans to alleviate any possible traffic problems in Old Buckenham.  Liz Poole, NCC Highways pointed out that the increase in traffic going through Old Buckenham would be marginal; therefore, nothing had been proposed.


Councillor Martin mentioned the employment land on London Road and Victory Park where there was room for expansion.  He pointed out that an application to expand premises on London Road had already been approved and at  Bunns Bank, where there was still a great deal of land, a recent planning application had been submitted for additional units which he felt would be ideal with the link road coming in from the A11.


The Director of Planning & Building Control highlighted the fact that the emerging Local Plan had a direct allocation for at least 10 hectares of employment land on London Road going forward.


The Chairman of the Planning Committee pointed out that at the recent Planning Committee meeting held earlier in the week, an application had been approved for units on the Snetterton site.


In terms of open space, Councillor Joel thanked the Director of Planning & Building Control for all the hard work that gone into this planning application; Old Buckenham and the ancient monument would now be protected. He asked if the person developing the plans for the construction traffic would be willing to attend a Parish meeting to discuss this matter.  Also, in respect of Bunns Bank roundabout, he asked if there would be any footpaths installed to protect the pedestrians.


The Director of Planning & Building Control said that he would be quite happy to work with the Parish Council when the plans came forward.  There would be a Construction Management Plan that would be produced by the developers in conjunction with the Highway Authority and there were footpaths and cycleways proposed as part of the overall development.  The detailed design of the roundabout and link road would address the issue of footpaths and cycleways.


Councillor Joel also asked about the level of affordable housing.  Members were informed that the affordable housing provision had arose from viability work, which was 400 dwellings for the lifetime of the development but there would be a condition in the S106 Agreement to review this number as the development progressed.


Councillor Wilkinson was pleased to see all issues raised being addressed; however, he reminded Members that the emerging Local Plan was trying to hit a limit of 25%.  As far as infrastructure services were concerned, he asked if anything could be built out before the 1200 houses and, if any crossings were to be closed, he asked that the Ward Representatives be kept informed. 


The Director of Planning & Building Control explained that there would be triggers all the while in respect of infrastructure provision which would be brought forward as early as possible.  In terms of Network Rail, these decisions were not driven by Breckland Council or by the developers but all would continue to push the point that the crossings should not be closed.


Councillor Richmond, the Vice-Chairman asked for the affordable housing review mechanism to be explained.  Members were informed that intervals had been identified and a review would take place on sales values against costs and there was a mechanism in place to uplift the affordable housing quota.


Councillor Sharpe asked about the attenuation basins.  He wanted to know if these would form part of the open space calculation.  Members were informed that these would not.


There were no further questions.


The Chairman was pleased that everyone had been given the opportunity to put forward their concerns and air their views.  He then read aloud the recommendations, and following Members’ unanimous approval, it was:


RESOLVED that the application be approved; subject to:


1.     the attached conditions as set out in Appendix 1 of the agenda pack;


2.     the completion of a S106 Agreement relating to the matters as set out in Appendix 2 of the agenda pack; and


3.     Officers being given delegated powers to finalise and amend conditions and the S106 Agreement prior to the issuing of the decision notice having regard to the findings of the HRA and in consultation with the appropriate statutory bodies.

Supporting documents: