Building work is set to start on the first 343 of 5,000 new homes in a major development scheme.

Construction of the first phase of the Thetford North Strategic Urban Extension (SUE) scheme – known as Kingsfleet – will begin later this month.

The development will lie alongside the A11 dual carriageway on Norwich Road in Croxton.

Planning permission for the SUE, including up to 5,000 homes, employment land, three schools, a community centre and healthcare facilities, was obtained in 2016.

This has prompted Thetford Town Council to seek to extend its parish boundaries up to the A11 in order for the town to benefit from this new development.

The first phase of building, by Suffolk-based housebuilder Hopkins Homes, will include 292 one and two bed flats and two, three, four and five bed houses as well as 51 affordable homes transferred to a housing association.

Construction of infrastructure has already begun and the homes are expected to go on sale in spring 2019.

Despite initial worries of how the town would cope with the extra housing, Thetford town councillor Denis Crawford said the town could benefit from the SUE if the council's boundaries were extended to the A11, which currently falls into the parishes of Croxton, Brettenham and Kilverstone. 'Having 5,000 houses was a bit scary, but if it's going to be built lets have it in our part of town,' he added.

'It would be good to have people coming into town and spending money here, it could help to regenerate the town a bit.'

He said if the housing remained under the Croxton parish then the new residents would be paying less council tax than people in Thetford, despite them using the towns facilities. 'We thought it would only be fair,' Mr Crawford said. 'They'd be using Thetford facilities but they wouldn't be paying rates to the town council.'

Breckland Council's Community Governance Review (CGR) agreed for a third consultation into the matter, with recommendations for the boundary to be extended to include all the land to the south of the A11 and west of the A1075.

The council is asking residents to suggest a name for the new ward and for the number of Thetford town councillors to increase by two from 16 to 18 to cover the proposed new ward.