Agenda and minutes

Venue: Swaffham Community Centre, The Dickens Room, Campingland, Swaffham

Contact: Julie Britton 

No. Item




Following introductions the meeting commenced.


Apologies (Agenda Item 1)

To receive any apologies for absence.





Declarations of Interest (Agenda Item 2)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.



No declarations were made.



Urgent Business (Agenda Item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.





Non Members wishing to address the meeting (Agenda Item 4)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.


Councillors Marion Chapman-Allen, Shirley Matthews, Paul Darby, Nigel Wilkin and Peter Wilkinson.



Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 5)


Many parishioners were in attendance and the Chairman was pleased by the excellent representation.


He explained that this Working Group meeting was just an information gathering exercise and that the Local Plan would be subject to a second full round of consultation in September 2016.  He pointed out that at the previous meeting held in Thetford on 11 July, it had been agreed that the proposed housing growth split be endorsed as follows:


·         Key Settlements - 50%

·         Market Towns – 30%

·         Local Service Centres – 15%

·         Rural Areas – 5%


Additionally, the list of Local Service Centres and the proposed level of allocations for these had not been moved and agreed. 




Preferred Sites (Agenda item 6)


Steve Ottewell (SO), Operations Director, Capita who would be presenting the selection of preferred sites and settlement boundary reviews, again reminded the parishioners of the further round of consultation in September following approval at the Cabinet meeting at the end of August 2016.  Formal consultation provided the opportunity to raise concerns but the key issue was to pick the right locations for growth.


Attention was drawn to the process and criteria at section 1.18 of the document published on 4 July and circulated to all present as requested.




Litcham pdf icon PDF 394 KB

Additional documents:


Sites for Litcham had been narrowed down to two, one preferred and one alternative.  The preferred site was adjacent to the settlement boundary and was of high quality agricultural land.  Further consultation would be had on this site due to the number of constraints including a highways issue. 


The alternative site was of grade 2 agricultural land.


No representatives for Litcham were in attendance; however, Councillor Bambridge pointed out that the southern entrance to that site was a Northern Distributor Road (NDR) ‘rat run’ and should be taken into account.


AGREED that the preferred site for Litcham be endorsed subject to further consultation.




Narborough pdf icon PDF 617 KB

Additional documents:


An interim allocation of 40 dwellings had been suggested.  The preferred site was situated on land to the West of Chalk Lane.  The constraints were highlighted which included Highways response of road widening and the installation of a pedestrian footway.


Councillor Wilkinson pointed out that the land to the East could possibly come forward in the future.  The site put forward was from a plan that had been included at the time of the LDF (Local Development Framework). 


Councillor Wilkin felt that the emphasis should be put on the improvement to the highway in conjunction with any development coming forward as this was a very busy piece of road.


AGREED that the preferred site be endorsed.


Necton pdf icon PDF 545 KB

Additional documents:


Necton Parish Council had provided the meeting with a very comprehensive report which would be given due consideration.


Necton had been given a revised interim allocation of 75 units. Four alternative sites had been identified, one of which had been categorised as the preferred site.  The current land use was explained.  No objections had been received from Norfolk County Council Highways Department.


The alternative sites identified had a number of planning constraints; one was heavily wooded and the smallest of the three was classed as greenfield.  NCC had not raised any objections.


The Ward Member, Councillor Wilkin raised concerns as according to the plan, half of the alternative site LP(067)003 passed through LP(067)005 and felt that the map was very confusing.  It was noted that the line on the map had been drawn incorrectly.


A Parish Council representative stated that two sites were different to the ones that had been consulted on earlier in the year.


Another Parish Council representative hoped that everyone had read the Clerk’s comprehensive report.  The Parish Council felt that Breckland Council was not acting in Necton’s best interest.  Ramms Lane had not been identified as a preferred site in the earlier consultation but now it had and the Parish Council would unequivocally defend that land as it had identified others. He urged Members to listen to the Parish Council as they were the views expressed by local residents. The lack of S106 monies was also mentioned.


SO pointed out that the purpose of these sessions was to make a note of all concerns raised and take on board further suggestions and all would be included in the document for the second round of consultation in September.  The alternative sites would be looked at again so that the comments made could be understood.


Councillor Wilkin stated that when the first consultation took place in the Village Hall earlier in the year it had been one of the best turnouts he had ever seen and it showed the depth of concern in the village.  Necton had been susceptible to a great deal of development in the early 60s and 70s and had had another surge of development in the 80s and now the junction at the A47 was considered to be one of the worst in Breckland.  Without any improvement to the junction any further development would only add to the problem.  Necton was not saying no to development but stealing lumps of agricultural land would not help the farm workers and would harm employment.  During the Labour led government many gardens had been lost to development and had made a total mess of the village.  He urged Breckland Council to listen to the community and go back to the drawing board if necessary.


The Chairman asked SO about S106 monies.  It was noted that this matter would be looked into.


A resident of Necton concurred with the views of Cllr Wilkin and agreed that the sites in question were all in the wrong area  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24/14c


Sporle pdf icon PDF 412 KB

Additional documents:


Sporle had an interim allocation of 35 dwellings.  A small number of representations had been received.  The preferred site was classed as greenfield land and was bounded by existing development to the North.  Norfolk County Council Highways had raised no objections.  The alternative site was also greenfield land and had agricultural land to the North.  Norfolk County Council Highways had stated that visibility improvements to this site would be required.   


The Village Hall location was questioned.


Councillor Wilkinson pointed out that the road structure was very poor.


The Chairman of Sporle Parish Council did not have any problem with the preferred site but was concerned about the seven sites highlighted in blue that the Parish Council had known nothing about and had not seen sight of at the meeting earlier in the year.  He raised concerns in relation to the amount of traffic using the one small road through the village to avoid the A47 junction.  The footpaths were not up to standard and he was very wary of what could happen if LP(067)004 was developed.  He asked if the any of the other sites would be coming forward in future.  SO explained the process and stated that if the preferred site was developed it would see Necton through until 2036.


It was pointed out that site no. 004 was grazing land not agricultural land.  Councillor Bambridge said that if this land was classed as permanent pasture then it should be protected for biodiversity reasons.


Councillor Wilkin highlighted the fact that site no. 004 was slightly elevated and could cause drainage issues.  The land opposite site no. 005 was currently being developed which he felt was a planning gain for the village.


AGREED that the preferred site (005) be endorsed.



Swaffham pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:


Swaffham had been allocated 750 dwellings.  The five preferred sites were highlighted.  006, 010, 009, 013 and 018 all had outline planning permission subject to S106 Agreements; therefore, with regard to the target all the above planning permissions would fulfil the requirement for site allocations in Swaffham until 2036.  There was a risk however, that other sites could still come forward.  Councillor Darby a Ward Member for Swaffham was concerned about potential flooding issues. He also raised concerns about the state of the road structure in the town and asked if Swaffham could have a traffic survey carried out as Dereham recently had.  Other concerns raised included the pollution levels in the town which would have a bearing on future development.  Councillor Bambridge pointed out that pollution was already being monitored on a continuous basis.  Councillor Matthews felt that the beauty of having all these houses built on the preferred sites was that the traffic would be alleviated to a certain extent.


AGREED that the preferred sites be endorsed.


Settlement Boundaries - please refer to Settlement Boundaries and Preferred Sites report as mentioned at the beginning of the agenda (Agenda item 7)

·         Swaffham

·         Narborough

·         Sporle

·         Holme Hale

·         Necton

·         Beeston

·         Gt Dunham

·         Litcham

·         Weasenham

·         Tittleshall

·         Mileham

·         Stanfield

·         Whissonsett

·         Colkirk


SO said that Policy PD05 had been split into two parts; A and B.  PD05a applied to settlements that met three out of five of the service facilities identified in paragraph 1.6 of the report (published on 4 July 2016).  Those villages could have development within their revised Settlement Boundary and appropriate development immediately adjacent to the Settlement Boundary or no more than five, or not more than 10% of the existing number of dwellings.  Other key policy requirements would still apply.


PD05b would apply to the smaller villages that had two or fewer of the service facilities identified in paragraph 1.6 of the report published on 4 July 2016.  Those villages would have no Settlement Boundary, but small amounts of development could be permitted if they had local support.


Councillor Borrett had asked Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen to raise again what he had highlighted at the Thetford meeting the previous day.  He was concerned that Parish Councils and local communities would not understand the changes proposed by Policy PD05 and had asked it to be made clear that the Local Plan Working Group had agreed to use the new process within Policy PD05 for determining future development in rural areas. Parish representatives should be asked if the information on the five criteria was correct so that it could be determined which part of Policy PD05 applied to their village.  He also felt that it should be explained that if three or more criteria were met Policy PD05a would apply and the Settlement Boundary would be retained, and if two or less criteria were met Policy PD05b would apply and the Settlement Boundary would be deleted.  Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen emphasised to the Parish Councils who were in attendance the importance of checking the criteria of Policy PD05a and b.


A representative from Beachamwell was unclear whether parishes had been informed of PD05 and was not clear as to why these changes were now being proposed. He felt that the proposal seemed very prescriptive and there was no mention of ‘rounding off’ as there had been in the previous policy.


In response, the Chairman advised that Breckland Council had been developing the policy over the last six months and said that Policy PD05 would be subject to a second round of consultation.


Councillor Bambridge felt that an (a) and a (b) to the Policy PD05 was needed in Breckland to protect rural communities.  For those Parish Councils who were present at the meeting, Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen emphasised the importance of checking the criteria of Policy PD05 (a) and (b).


A Parish Council representative asked what defined an employment area in a rural area as in most villages it would be mainly agricultural use.  SO explained that the information was contained in the audit and advised that planning would consider the amount of jobs generated by such uses.


It was noted that there were not any maps for Swaffham, Narborough, Sporle, Holme Hale, Necton and Gt Dunham the Chairman advised that the reason  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25/14


Next Meeting (Agenda item 8)

The next meeting of the Local Plan Working Group will be held on Friday, 15 July 2016 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Dereham.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Friday, 15 July 2016 at 9.30am in Dereham were noted.