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Thetford SUE / Kingsfleet Development Phase 1

A large new housing development of around 5,000 new homes — known as Kingsfleet or the Sustainable Urban Expansion (SUE) — has been granted planning permission on the northern edge of Thetford. Phase 1, comprising around 1050 new homes, is due to be developed between 2018 and 2024, on the land inside the A11, between the A1075 Norwich Road and the railway line.

Above: The area covered by Phase 1 of the Kingsfleet development, with the locations of key features marked.

Sub-Phase 1a (Hopkins Homes)

Sub-Phase 1a comprises the first 343 houses (33% of phase 1) and a local centre, and is being built by Hopkins Homes at the end of the site nearest Joe Blunt's Lane. Access to the estate will be via a new traffic-light-controlled junction on London Road. Construction work on the site started in September 2018. Work on the new junction and associated road widening took place between February and August 2019, with only inbound traffic permitted on the A1075 during that time.

Phase 1a Site Plan, highlighting main roads and cycleways (source).

Media Coverage

Sub-Phase 1a (Tilia Homes) 'Sovereign Gate'

In November 2020 it was announced that the remaining plot of land in Sub-Phase 1a had been sold to the developer Tilia Homes (then known as Kier Living). This sub-phase will provide around 130 dwellings, with 15% affordable housing. Construction is expected to begin in Autumn 2021.

Media Coverage

Sub-Phase 1b (Taylor Wimpey) 'Britannia Grange'

The land for Sub-Phase 1b lies adjacent to Norwich Road, just north of the current development on the other side of Jane's Wood. The site will be developed by Taylor Wimpey, under the name Britannia Grange.

Phase 1 Planning Requirements

As part of the planning permission that has been granted, the developers must provide various community assets and/or funding at different stages of the development. The requirements are set out in a document known as a Section 106 agreement, with additional constraints being imposed through Planning Conditions. The key requirements for Phase 1 are as follows. (Note that these span the whole of Phase 1, not just Phase 1A.)

Affordable Housing
15% of first 500 occupied dwellings and 10% of dwellings thereafter will be 'Affordable Housing'. (These figures may be adjusted up or down depending on financial viability for the developers.) Within each sub-phase, 50% of the affordable houses in are to be transferred before 40% of houses are occupied; the remainder before 70% occupied. [s106 Sch 1]
The Phase 1a Affordable Housing Locations Plan shows 51 affordable homes out of the total of 343 (14.8%).
Public Open Space
Four hectares of open space is to be provided prior to any occupancy of dwellings. [s106 Sch 2 §5.3]
Three hectares of land allocated for this is shown on the Phase 1a Plan 1005, as being to the west of the railway, immediately north of Joe Blunt's Lane. The remaining hectare is to be located within the main development. In fact 3.8 hectares has initially been provided adjacent to Joe Blunts lane, as Blakeney Meadow.
Wildlife Mitigation Land
Stone Curlew, Woodlark and Nightjar mitigation land is to be provided prior to the commencement of any development. [s106 Sch 2 §2–3]
Waste Management Funding
The first two waste management contributions are to be paid: 10% at 5% occupancy of first sub-phase, 10% at 5% of second sub-phase. [s106 Sch 3 §2]
Police Facilities
A Police 'Beat Base' is to be provided. Plans must be approved prior to 40% occupancy of Phase 1; construction completed prior to 60% occupancy; and available for use by the police (at a peppercorn rent) prior to 80% occupancy. [s106 Sch 3 §11]
Norfolk Constabulary have since changed their priorities, so this may not actually be required now.
Education Provision
The site for the first primary school must be agreed prior to any development, and a land transfer agreement in place before 10% occupancy. (Funding contributions to build and equip the school come in later phases, although Norfolk County Council may front-fund earlier development of the school if additional places are needed sooner. It was reported in July 2020, construction is set to start in 2025.) [s106 Sch 5 §1]
The proposed site of the school is show on the Phase 1a Plan 1005, as being in the middle of the Phase 1 area, immediately to the north of the Phase 1a development.
Bus Services
New bus services to the town centre and to the existing employment areas on Mundford Road and London Road will be in place from the first day of occupation by a resident in the Thetford Urban Extension. [TAAP TH26]
The above policy has not been enforced by Breckland Council during the planning process. Instead the only requirements are Outline Planning Conditions 29 and 30, which require a plan for routes for bus services, and that these routes are available by 80% occupancy of the phase. This is despite the developers apparently being happy with provision from occupation day one in the Outline Planning application. (See section 3.2 of the Public Transport Proposals document from December 2011.)
Cycling & Walking Provision
The development must include plans for a walking a cycling network that integrates with the existing town-wide networks. [TAAP TH25]
The Phase 1a plans include a good walking network, but the cycling network is less good, with key routes missing. Also, the networks do not currently integrate well with the rest of Thetford. In particular, there are no good links with the existing Tesco superstore and Green Lane. This may well be addressed in later phases of the development.
Phase 1a is adjacent to part of a proposed Thetford Loop cycle route, which runs along Joe Blunt's Lane, and so that part of the loop must be provided as part of the development. [TAAP TH12]
Despite being raised in comments to the planning application, Breckland Council has failed to enforce this policy.
Travel Plans & Highway Improvement Works
The developer must either produce their own travel plan and get it approved prior to any development, or pay for Norfolk County Council to produce the plan for them prior to first occupation. The plan is likely to include improvements to the Norwich Road/A11 roundabout, and the Norwich Road/Hurth Way roundabout. [s106 Sch 5 §6]

In later phases of the development there is provision for further schools, two community centres, more open space, and healthcare and library financial contributions. Full details can be found in the Section 106 Agreement.