A project which will result in a Breckland village getting dozens of new homes has begun. 

Abel Homes has started work on the construction of 85 homes in East Harling, near Thetford. 

The Norfolk-based firm is building a mixture of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes, 15 of which will be classed as affordable. 

The site, between Kenninghall Road and Quidenham Road to the east of the village centre, has been earmarked for a new housing development for more than a decade. 

In recent days, Paul LeGrice, managing director of Abel Homes, was joined by Philip Edge, chairman of Harling Parish Council, to cut the first sod on the site.

Mr Edge said: "This land was allocated for new homes 14 years ago and has always been the parish council’s preferred site.

"We are absolutely delighted to be working with Abel Homes to bring these new homes into existence."

Adding 85 new homes to East Harling is the third and final phase of a large development in the village.

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The first and second phases, Poppy Fields and Rusina Fields, have been completed, with more than 60 houses built.

The latest phase received planning permission in principle back in February 2020, before being given the final sign-off by Breckland Council's planning committee earlier this year

Thetford & Brandon Times: Breckland Council's planning committee gave the final sign-off to 85 new homes in East Harling in August 2022Breckland Council's planning committee gave the final sign-off to 85 new homes in East Harling in August 2022 (Image: Ian Burt)

In 2011, before the construction of the first two phases, the village's population was recorded as 2,142 in 941 households, meaning the new homes represent a substantial increase in residents.

Over the years, a number of residents have criticised the plans, raising concerns over their potential strain on local infrastructure and services

However, Mr LeGrice said the Harling project was proof of Abel Homes "showing our commitment to sustainability". 

All properties on the site are due to have an 'A' rating for energy efficiency, with photo-voltaic solar panels, underfloor heating, triple glazing and high levels of insulation.

Fibre broadband is also being directed to each property.

The developer will create a public open space at the site and, as has been the case with its other schemes, will also include a piece of new public artwork. 

The first new homes will be released for sale to the general public next summer.