Green light for Swaffham care home and housing development

The care home and surrounding development would go up on the yellow-shaded area on the south-western edge of Swaffham. 

The care home and surrounding development would go up on the yellow-shaded area on the south-western edge of Swaffham. - Credit: Google

Councillors have voted unanimously in favour of detailed plans to build a new care home, 40 assisted-living dwellings, and 160 houses on the edge of Swaffham.

Permission in principle for the development had been granted in 2019, but the scheme’s layout, appearance, scale and landscaping was agreed at a Tuesday meeting of Breckland Council’s planning committee. 

At the meeting, a planning officer pointed out that the development failed to provide enough space for children’s play.

But in her view, the development was still acceptable, she said, because it provided 10pc more total open space than required.

She added that the developer, Abel Homes, had also been hampered by an unusual constraint to the site’s layout, because an aviation fuel pipeline runs underneath part of it.

The pipe’s owners say they do not want any children’s play equipment to be built on top of it, in order to protect it. 

In addition, Abel Homes will contribute £200,000 to improve and maintain outdoor sports provision elsewhere in Swaffham.

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The development will include two commercial units, one of which is anticipated to be a new Co-op supermarket for the town. 

Paul LeGrice, managing director of Abel Homes, told the meeting: “It’s our intention for the infrastructure, including the retail units to be delivered on-site prior to the residential units being built, so that will actually be bringing further facilities to the south of Swaffham, where there’s already been a significant of new development, including our own [existing] site, Swan’s Nest.”

Abel Homes site manager Alan Read (left) and managing director Paul LeGrice cut the first sod at the

Paul LeGrice, managing director of Abel Homes - Credit: Archant

Conservative councillor Claire Bowes expressed disappointment with the final design of the care home itself.

“It’s such a large building, I do find it a bit disappointing that it isn’t a more innovative design, and that you’re excusing it by just saying it won’t be seen because it’s behind a hedge,” she said.

Claire Bowes, Norfolk county councillor for the Watton area

Claire Bowes, Norfolk county councillor for the Watton area - Credit: Claire Bowes

Mr LeGrice replied: “We’re obviously in conversation with a couple of care home providers.

“There are certain requirements that they have in terms of the length of corridors and layout, that somewhat dictate how a care home is designed.

“And that’s why when you look around the county as a whole, you do see quite similar designs elsewhere.”