‘Petty arguments’ must not derail £20m boost for new homes in and around Norwich, says council leader
Decisions over how millions of pounds should be spent to kick-start building of new homes and transport improvements in and around Norwich must not get caught up in “petty arguments”, a council leader has warned.
An event will be held next month to encourage developers to take advantage of £20m of cheap loans made available thanks to the City Deal which was awarded Greater Norwich at the end of last year.
The low interest loans will be available to developers to unlock delays to housing developments, creating new jobs and infrastructure.
But decisions on which schemes should get funding is a matter for the new Greater Norwich Growth Board - made up of representatives from Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships.
And Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, said it was important the business plan the new partnership will use to make decisions - which will be a composite of business plans produced by each council - reflects the need for infrastructure across the whole of the Greater Norwich area.
Speaking at a meeting of Broadland District Council’s controlling cabinet today, Mr Proctor said: “The business plan for Broadland will set out what we want to achieve. It will contain the key elements. It all needs to be brought together to ensure everybody does the right thing for the whole of the area.”
He said “petty arguments” over where the money should be spent would not help the process.
Shaun Vincent, Broadland’s portfolio holder for planning, questioned how the new board would decide which schemes should receive the loans.
He said: “What if, for example, Norwich City Council wants something Broadland and South Norfolk don’t want? There is going to be a degree of conflict on issues which need to be resolved.” Phil Kirby, Broadland’s chief executive, said: “The objective is for the growth board to have those debates. It will be for the growth board to decide how the infrastructure is delivered, but decisions can only be made by consensus, so agreements will have to be reached.”
The fund will be open until 2026. Once a development financed by the loan is built, the developer will need to pay back the money, which can then be given to another developer.
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