The fight for Brandon’s regeneration took another step forward last week as a consultation on plans for hundred of new homes and a relief road was launched.
The Brandon Regeneration project could see a by-pass built around the town, up to 1,600 new homes and a new primary school, as well as employment opportunities, community and leisure facilities.
More than 5,000 homes and businesses in Brandon and Weeting have been sent information packs about the proposals, offering them the chance to have their say.
Attempts at a similar plan stalled in 2009, but developers Brandon Strategic Land are confident they will be able to submit an outline planning application next year.
A spokesman for Brandon Stratagic Land said: “We hope local people and businesses will let us know what they think about our proposals. That’s why we have given everyone in Brandon and Weeting a chance to have their say.
“It is clear that the town needs a by-pass but this can’t be delivered in isolation. It has to be part of a wider approach to developing the town and its facilities.”
However, councillors in Brandon have shared concerns about the feasibility of such a large project.
Forest Heath district councillor for Brandon West ward Tony Simmons said: “This development is currently just a private consortium’s wish list. The local development plan allows for 730 new homes in Brandon - anything past that is just wishful thinking.
“People keep putting forward this sort of thing and unfortunately people seem to take notice of it.
“I don’t think the developers will get enough funding to pay for all they need.”
Fellow Brandon West ward councillor David Bimson said: “The developers are promising a lot of things. It is a long, long term project, and I certainly don’t think it is something that will be done very quickly.
“There is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put in place before a development of this size begins.
“I will welcome the planning application and then when we have something concrete we can start to make some informed decisions.
“The people of Weeting also need to be considered, as any development will also impact on them.”
Cllr Simmons and Cllr Bimson both expressed concerns about the negative implications for traffic through Brandon which redevelopment work could bring.
Cllr Simmons believed there had been an offer from Network Rail to front the cost of any regeneration of the town’s railway – provided its level crossing is closed.
“Closing the crossing will be detrimental for Brandon, because it will effectively turn it into a cul-de-sac,” he said.
Both councillors also disputed the necessity of a relief road, believing any decisions should wait until the full effect of the A11 dualling is realised.
The consultation’s closing date is January 14.