Community leaders voice concern over major homes plan for Brandon and Weeting

Thetford news from the Bury Free Press
Thetford news from the Bury Free Press
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Outline plans for 1,650 new homes on the outskirts of Brandon and Weeting have been criticsed by community leaders.

The major scheme by Talavera Estates Ltd, submitted to local councils this week, also includes a relief road between two sections of the development running from that in Weeting to a larger portion of the development north west of Brandon.

Plans for the Brandon Regeneration project, from developers Brandon Strategic Land ANL-141224-105716001

Plans for the Brandon Regeneration project, from developers Brandon Strategic Land ANL-141224-105716001

As well as homes, a new primary school is promised along with a health centre, leisure centre, shops, restaurants and a village hall. The relief road will alleviate traffic on the A1065 through Brandon High Street.

The homes will range from one bedroom flats to five bedroom properties.

Last year a consultation exercise was carried out on a major development scheme by Brandon Stratregic Land, although at the time no plan had been submitted.

Cllr Reg Sylvester, Brandon town council vice-chairman and Suffolk County Council member, said the plans created too many variables and the scheme could pose issues on infrastructure.

“I am concerned about the total number of homes and the time scale. Eighty per cent of the homes would be completed before the road is complete as I suspect quite a lot of homes would have to be built to pay for the road.

“There are eight roundabouts on the road so to my mind that makes it more a service road than a relief road.

“With the opening of the new A11 we are now seeing a lot of traffic travelling through the A134 to Mundford and coming up the Bury Road rather than through the A1065 and what about secondary school provision for all these homes.

“This is development on one side of the town. We need a more even spread of homes and where are these people going to work?

“With the closure of Mildenhall base a lot of people will be out of work and a number of homes will also become available.”

Eddie Stewart, former Forest Heath district councillor, labelled the scheme ‘toxic’ and said the town’s infrastructure, even with the proposed additions, would not be able to cope.

“The amount of people they estimate this will bring to Brandon frightens me. It’s near on 4,000 people, and in a town of 11,000 that is untenable,” he said.

“I am aware the whole area of Brandon needs more housing, but it needs to be reasonable.

“It is a toxic development. It will not benefit the town or the shops, and it will certainly not benefit the people here.”

The Brandon Community Union (BCU), which is spearheading a campaign against the proposals, said it was ‘overdevelopment in the extreme’.

A spokeswoman for the BCU said: “We, supported by 98.8 per cent of the residents in a recent poll, feels 1,650 dwellings is too high a price to pay for a so called ‘relief’ road.

“The existing infrastructure is insufficient and this development will do nothing of benefit for Brandon, only compound problems with doctors, schooling, sewage to name but a few facilities.”

Mr Stewart, who is also chairman of the BCU, said the group was ‘not against development’ but it needed to be ‘reasoned and planned’.