The urban growth ambitions for Norwich represent the single biggest threat to Norfolk’s countryside for generations – according to the planning expert now leading the fight against over-development.

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The urban growth ambitions for Norwich represent the single biggest threat to Norfolk’s countryside for generations – according to the planning expert now leading the fight against over-development.

The county’s branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has created the new role of planning and campaigns manager in recognition of what it sees as an unprecedented array of challenges.

Caroline Davison, a conservationist and historian, who worked in Norfolk County Council’s planning department for more than 20 years, has become the first holder of the new post.

She said the greatest threat to Norfolk’s landscape today was the joint core strategy (JCS) adopted by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) – a document which allocates land for 37,000 new homes by 2026, mostly around the city’s rural hinterland.

Having worked on the landscape assessments for the policy during her time at County Hall, Ms Davison described herself as a “poacher-turned-gamekeeper”. She said the house-building targets were too high in a county, which must also cope with the landscape and social demands of drought, population rise and new energy infrastructure.

“The JCS is the biggest threat to the character of Norfolk and the area around Norwich for many years,” she said.

“One of our core policies is about protecting the tranquillity of the countryside and that could all be threatened by this influx of houses. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

“We have to look at whether there is another way we can do this, otherwise there will not be any more countryside left.”

GNDP chairman Andrew Proctor said the growth strategy was essential to control the development which the city’s population would need in the future, and that green spaces and environmental projects were at the heart of the project.

“Describing the Joint Core Strategy as the ‘biggest threat to the countryside’ does not make sense,” he said. “Exactly the opposite is true. Without a JCS in place, the area would be vulnerable to speculative development. What the JCS does is to set out the best way to manage growth and deliver much needed homes, jobs and infrastructure, whilst protecting the countryside from over-development.”

For the full story, see today’s EDP (Saturday).

11 comments

  • Thank goodness for CPRE,we all need to understand what GNDP are all about. MrProctor,will of course continue to pursue this flawed policy.What we need is a better Norwich & better Norfolk.Unfortunately consultations we bined by GNDP.

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    Alfred Townly

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • CPRE talk tosh as usual. Let's do some simple maths. According to Wikepedia Norfolk is 5,371km2. Houses are built at 30 to the heactare and there are 100 hectares in a km2. So every 1km2 can take 3,000 houses. If we assume that one third of the 37,000 are in Norwich, then about 25,000 will be on greenfields - i.e. about 8km2 out of the 5,371. Now I know that some of the county is already built on but this does rather put the growth into perspective - something the CPRE clearly lack!

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    Local Dad

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Blister, where do you think the water will come from to fill all these new reservoirs you speak of? Most of Norfolk's water sources are already at abstraction capacity on current demand alone, never mind planned future growth.

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    beeston bump

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • I sometimes think the CPRE is the greatest threat to Norfolk's countryside . . .

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    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Local Dad I can see what you're getting at, but you miss a crucial point: it's not scale that's the issue but 'direction of travel'. Our entire economic philosophy, including that of Norfolk's local authorities, is dependent on the principle of perpetual growth. It doesn't stop with the 37000 being called for now. There's simply no understanding of natural limits like land and water. If the economy slows down, business leaders and politicians will scream that the economy failing or stagnating and that the answer is....yes, more growth! So if and when the 37000 houses in the current core strategy round are built, the agenda immediately moves on to where to put the next 37000. Ask any of the politicians or business leaders involved in the strategy for Norwich: there is no vision or collective view of when Norwich might be 'big enough' or Norfolk urbanised 'enough....it's not on anyone's agenda and may even be a concept they don't understand. Just a blind assumption that growth is always 'good', and no matter how much growth Norfolk needs, land and water will always be found to accommodate it. Anyone who opposes this is accused of being 'backward' and 'anti-progress'. No wonder then that each time there is a call for more land to be made available for 'much needed houses roads and industry', it's easy to justify on the basis that there's still plenty of countryside. Except, based on the assumption that Norfolk's economy must always expand, one day there may not be plenty. We'll wonder why we don't have enough land to feed ourselves, or water. If you think that's an over reaction...just visit South Essex.

    Report this comment

    beeston bump

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Callum, I agree, it's amazing how the EDP laps up any press release from them or from the RSPB, just like it used to publish any tosh the ramblers association put out before their fall from grace.

    Report this comment

    john smith

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Urban sprawl is the greatest threat to our limited water supply, of that I have no doubt.

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    John L Norton

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Blister, are you suggesting that we cover the whole of Norfolk with new housing and more roads with an open house immigration policy? If so you are pushing for a future that will be unable to feed or water this already overcrowded island.

    Report this comment

    Admetus

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Their messages depends on what way the wind is blowing. The idea of supporting supermarkets close to the town centre and fighting against developing green field sites went out of the window when Waitrose was coming to Sheringham.

    Report this comment

    Jono

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • nobody seems to see the connection between the massive increase in population over the past few years and the speeding up of more people arriving in this country linked to the need for more homes, the town of wisbech has seen it's population increase by a third with people from Eastern Europe and elsewhere, many live in cramped and overcrowded conditions, this is repeated throughout England and we must all accept that much more housing must be bulit everywhere even if it means covering Norfolk witrh, there is also a need for more reservoirs to service this new population and more and more roads for people to drive, most of the the new arrivals are not old people but young people who want cars and the roads to drive them on

    Report this comment

    blister

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • The driving force for the GNDP was based on Labour's flawed mass immigration policy which will turn England into the most crowded country in Euirope - it is nearly at that point now. No one voted for that and most are against it. We shoud change this policy now and return to a sustainable population, even if that means reducing the population of UK.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, February 6, 2012

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