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Breckland mud to houses scheme under review

PUBLISHED: 07:53 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 07 July 2010

A SCHEME that aims to raise funds for Breckland Council by developing homes on pockets of land owned by the authority has been reviewed by councillors.

A SCHEME that aims to raise funds for Breckland Council by developing homes on pockets of land owned by the authority has been reviewed by councillors.

Breckland's Mud to Houses project was aimed at making money out of council-owned land considered to be redundant in the district.

But it was not without controversy and earlier this year residents in Dereham fought against one of these pieces of land, a green space at Boyd Avenue, being included in the plan.

A report to Breckland's cabinet which met on Tuesday, October 27 stated that the council needed to look at other priorities, not just commercial, that the land could be also used for including affordable housing, open spaces, leisure and recreation, and community projects.

It also suggested coming up with a long term strategy for all of the authority's surplus land assets and outlined a framework for the management of surplus land.

The report said: “Each piece of land should be treated on a case by case basis and the framework is a guide and not a set of rules.”

Breckland councillor Robin Goreham, who was not at last week's meeting, sent a statement to the cabinet which said while he agreed the cabinet should take every reasonable step to maximize the council's assets, he was especially concerned for the preservation of open spaces and amenity areas, particularly on well-developed and balanced housing estates.

He said: “I am imploring cabinet and council to proceed with sensitivity, with special emphasis being placed on the option to transfer ownership of open space land to town and parish councils (where these are willing to take on such responsibilities).”

At last week's cabinet meeting members agreed to adopt the framework for managing the council's surplus land and approved the implementation plan.

Breckland is thought to own some 6,000 plots of land across the district.


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