Work has started on a major new edge-of-town development which will bring more than 200 new homes and shops including a new Tesco.

Abel Homes is building 160 energy-efficient family properties, a 64-bed care home and 40 assisted-living homes for older people off Brandon Road on the southern outskirts of Swaffham.

A new shopping centre with a Tesco Express and other small units is also included in the Cygnet Rise development.

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Paul LeGrice, managing director of Norfolk-based Abel Homes, was joined by site manager John Bright to cut the first sod on the site.

“This is a very exciting development because we are not just building new homes here but creating a whole new community on the southern edge of Swaffham,” he said.

“As a locally-based house builder, we understand that we are not just about bricks and mortar, but building communities for people to live in. 

"That is why all of our developments include public open spaces, it is why we commission a piece of public artwork from a local artist at every location where we build – and it is why we have brought forward innovative plans for this site which includes much-needed accommodation for older people, affordable homes, and retail units to create a real local centre.”

A mixture of one-, two-, three and four-bedroom homes will be built on the site. Forty of the new properties will be provided as affordable homes.

All will have the top ‘A’ rating for energy efficiency, including features such as photo-voltaic solar panels, underfloor heating, triple glazing and high levels of insulation, and will also feature fibre broadband direct to each home alongside an electric car charging point.