Update July 2018

Parish Meeting, New town development report

You will probably be aware of recent reports of a proposal to establish some 10,000 homes in a new town within North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree. This was initially disclosed after one of the Breckland Councillors for the area, agreed to a developer’s request to meet with them and then circulated a series of brief emails to parishes. These stated that a scheme for a new town would be submitted to the government within two weeks. Breckland Council, as the planning authority would have to decide in that time whether to support the principle of new towns generally and indicate in the submission to the government whether it supported this development in particular.  Objectors therefore only had a very limited window of a few days to write to Breckland but if the council agreed its support, it was very likely the project would also receive the backing of the government.

It will probably be appreciated that this whole thing caused considerable alarm. After enquiring and conducting research into the whole thing however I was only able to conclude that the processes described were entirely inaccurate and summarised this in a paper to our planning committee, which was also used as a discussion document at a meeting of local parishes and forwarded to Breckland with a letter making observations and seeking some urgent answers. Danny Danson has kindly set up a separate section on our website (hoeandworthing.co.uk) for this issue and I have placed the main sequence of documents on it. I trust these are sufficient to explain what has taken place to date without making it cluttered and confusing.

All local parishes very quickly received a well-crafted letter from Anna Graves, Breckland’s Chief Executive, written by an informed member of her staff, which is on the website and confirms in a very clear way our own observations i.e. that no decision can possibly be made without very explicit details being provided and extensive engagement with the local community having taken place from a very early stage. No proposal has been submitted and I hope the concern and alarm that anything imminent, irreversible or concealed can happen is now addressed.

Looking forward it is essential, In order that our parishioners can have confidence that any proposal to develop a new town in our area will be properly dealt with, that Breckland lives up to its claim to be transparent and accountable. As any proposal must be both endorsed and submitted by our district council, the authority must establish and disclose its attitude to the development of new towns in the Breckland area, as requested in our letter to them. Anna Graves has indicated how that may be achieved after a wider collaboration and consultation in the county but more detail is needed. There must also be an answer to our request made of the leader of the council, to explain the approach taken in dealing with this current matter, which has caused shock, concern, confusion, speculation and an incredible amount of work at parish level. I will continue to pursue this.

Unless parishioners request an earlier meeting I will not call one until some reliable information is available to allow a full discussion, all views to be freely expressed and a parish consensus to be established in due course. In the meantime I will continue to forward material for inclusion on our website and provide parish updates as developments unfold.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any query or concerns.

Trevor wood, Parish Meeting Chairman.  Telephone 860326 or email woodumail@btinternet.com

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