A councillor has raised concerns that a period of three years in which a policy document could be out of date could open the door to “aggressive” housing development.

At a Monday meeting of Breckland District Council’s cabinet, deputy leader Paul Claussen said a policy in its Local Plan needed reviewing.

A council report says that due to “a number of changes which have occurred since the Local Plan was adopted”, one of its policies is outdated, and needs reviewing - but doing so will only bring the plan up-to-date until 2024.

A "substantive review" of the entire plan is proposed for completion by 2027.

Independent councillor Roger Atterwill said: “We find ourselves in a situation where our existing local plan policies will not hold weight, possibly for a period of up to three years before the new plan is adopted in 2027.”

He then asked: “What that will mean for communities in terms of aggressive development applications coming their way?”

Council officer Simon Wood said: “We’ve responded to circumstances that are largely outside of our control and have come forward with a solution which we think is responsible.”

He said the policy review was only one of “a suite of things that contributes to decision-making” on planning applications and the council remained “in a robust position for some years to make decisions based on the development plan".

Mr Atterwill also told Mr Claussen he was surprised a working group of councillors hadn’t been consulted on the proposals before Monday’s meeting.

He said: “I think that’s a little bit arrogant to be honest, and I’d like to know why that working group wasn’t consulted.”

Thetford & Brandon Times: Roger Atterwill, Breckland district councillor for the Lincoln ward, near DerehamRoger Atterwill, Breckland district councillor for the Lincoln ward, near Dereham (Image: Archant)

Responding, Mr Claussen said: “What we have is officers coming... wanting this paper to come to this cabinet meeting.

“There was only just enough time to get it through the process, so I had to take the decision, which an executive member is allowed to take, and many councils have only the executive member having oversight.”

Mr Claussen later said of Mr Atterwill: “He’s the only councillor in my entire time here that makes personal comments and I would just like to say what Margaret Thatcher said - when you get personal, it tends to show you’ve lost the policy argument.”

The cabinet then voted to proceed with the recommended timeline for the policy review and substantive review.