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Meat firm's plan for 130 new homes

PUBLISHED: 09:26 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:54 02 June 2010

More than 130 new homes could be built in Watton as part of plans by meat processing giant Bowes to put its whole operation in the town on one site.

The company - which employs 700 staff - is one of the country's largest specialist pig businesses and currently operates on both sides of the busy Brandon Road.

More than 130 new homes could be built in Watton as part of plans by meat processing giant Bowes to put its whole operation in the town on one site.

The company - which employs 700 staff - is one of the country's largest specialist pig businesses and currently operates on both sides of the busy Brandon Road.

Bowes wants to redevelop the north site, which has car and lorry parking, vehicle servicing, workshops and storage and build 131 new homes, including up to 30pc for affordable housing.

The new application comes as Breckland councillors prepare to discuss plans for 113 more houses, 22 flats and five shops on the former RAF Watton station.

The schemes show the keen interest by developers for expansion in the Watton area.

Bowes chief executive Adrian Dowling said the proposed scheme would “consolidate” the operation on one site, improve road safety, provide housing for potential employees and allow Bowes to invest for the future.

The company - which won the enterprise challenge initiative in the EDP Business Awards last October - has been hit by a double whammy of the foot and mouth outbreak and high feed prices.

Mr Dowling stressed the plans for housing would not affect the abattoir and having the whole operation on one side of the road would greatly improve road safety.

A new staff car park would be created on the south site and there would be a new access road.

Bowes has offered to give money towards primary education and library provision in the town plus a new play area on the site and extra recreation land off Saham Road.

The planning application to Breckland Council describes the north site as “an unattractive approach to Watton.”

Meanwhile, Breckland's development control committee will decide on Monday whether to give David Wilson Homes permission for 113 homes on the former RAF Watton technical site in the parishes of Carbrooke and Griston.

Carbrooke Parish Council has objected as there are no detailed plans for the drainage system and that the supporting statement to plans make no mention of Carbrooke.

Outline permission for development has already been agreed and councillors will be recommended to give approval.

The committee will also be advised to support plans by HDD RAF Watton Ltd for five shops and 22 flats in a neighbourhood centre at Blenheim Grange at Norwich Road.

Planning officers say in a report that it is likely there would be a convenience store and four smaller retail units and “as a local centre would not have an adverse impact on Watton town centre.”

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