Harleston, near Diss sees 461-home project approved by South Norfolk Council despite concerns

Harleston, near Diss sees 461-home project approved by South Norfolk Council despite concerns

Controversial plans to build hundreds of homes on the outskirts of a Norfolk community have been given the go-ahead, despite local concerns the project will adversely affect the city.

Proposals to build 461 lots on 67 acres of land on the outskirts of Harleston were approved by South Norfolk Council on Wednesday.

The program also includes plans for public open spaces, allotments and four acres of land for community use.

South Norfolk Council Office at Long Stratton.
South Norfolk Council Office at Long Stratton.

258 of the apartments are classified as affordable, 107 apartments and bungalows intended for people over 55. A new Lidl could also be built as part of a joint project.

In appeals to the community, 25 people argued that the city’s roads, doctors, dentists and schools could not cope with the large number of new residents.

The program, put forward by Saffron Housing Trust, would bring significant population growth to the area, which had a population of just 4,600 at the 2011 census.

Steve Tricker, 65, of Mendham Lane, which is adjacent to the development site, warned the project would kill the city, arguing it would create too many homes for the infrastructure available.

“I appreciate the need for houses, but this is too much,” he said. “You speak of hundreds of households and then also of a Lidl. It just feels like it’s killing the city.

“You can’t get a dentist, the doctors are at their breaking point. I know people who can’t get their kids into the local school.”

But Saffron has always maintained the program had been rigorously evaluated, and at Wednesday’s meeting council members unanimously approved the plans.

Conservative councilwoman Lisa Neal said: “It’s nice to see such a mix. We know we need the extra care homes for an aging population, but they still want to be independent. They have the bungalows, the affordable apartments and allotments.”

Cllr Neal said she was pleased to see that the development has such a large proportion of affordable housing, something the council normally has to require developers to do.

Independent councilor Clayton Hudson backed her comments: “What’s compelling me is the provision of affordable housing – 258 out of 461 – that’s over 50 percent.

“Who am I to refuse this at a time when affordable housing is sorely needed?”

Saffron has pledged to make financial contributions to improve local infrastructure and services through a municipal infrastructure levy – a fee to be spent in the area.

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