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Work starts on new homes scheme – despite row over affordable properties

PUBLISHED: 13:27 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:27 26 August 2020

A ground-breaking ceremony to build 137 new homes in Acle. From left to right: Norfolk County Council leader and chairman of Repton Property Developments, councillor Andrew Proctor, Gareth Roberts, Lovell operations manager, councillor  Gregory Peck, and Lovell managing director Simon Medler. Pic: submitted

A ground-breaking ceremony to build 137 new homes in Acle. From left to right: Norfolk County Council leader and chairman of Repton Property Developments, councillor Andrew Proctor, Gareth Roberts, Lovell operations manager, councillor Gregory Peck, and Lovell managing director Simon Medler. Pic: submitted

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Work has begun on a £25 million project to build 137 homes in a Norfolk town amid a row over how many will be affordable.

A breaking ground ceremony took place in Norwich Road, Acle, where St Edmund’s Park will provide homes in a new partnership between developers Lovell and Norfolk County Council.

It is the first of several schemes across the county to build more than 350 homes over the next five years on council-owned land – but there is opposition over how many are to be for those on lower incomes.

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St Edmund’s Park – which will be built by Repton Property Developments a firm set up by the council – it emerged 69 homes will be for sale on the open market with 45 affordable. However the firm has stated it is anticipated an extra 23 affordable homes will be built on top of the legal agreement in place.

A spokesman on behalf of the development partners said: “The plans at St Edmund’s Park will be delivered in accordance with the Section 106 agreement and with the intention of policy compliance. In fact, it is anticipated that some additional affordable homes will be provided on top of this requirement in order to truly deliver against local need.

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“There will be a total of 137 homes at the development; 27 for affordable rent, 18 for affordable shared ownership and 69 homes will be available to purchase on the open market.

“It is intended that an additional 15 homes for affordable rent and eight for shared ownership, bringing the total to 42 for affordable rent and 26 for shared ownership.”

But Steve Morphew, Labour group leader and a councillor for Catton Grove, said: “All of the houses should be affordable homes in terms of what the ordinary person can afford. The county council shouldn’t be spending money that isn’t for the benefit of all people in need.

“Much as I welcome council land being used for new homes they should all be for local people on lower incomes.

“Repton is financed by the council lending the company it owns money to buy land the council owns. It also lends the company the money to pay interest.

“The upshot is the build cost is high and that makes what you and I understand as affordable not what happens in reality.”

Lovell is the chosen developer to work with Repton on other sites as well including on land east of Lowestoft Road, Hopton and two sites in Attleborough.


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