Calls for resignations over Norfolk homes plan rejected

Calls for resignations after a blueprint for thousands of homes was deemed to be flawed by a High Court judge have been shrugged off by the chairman of the partnership behind the strategy.

A High Court judge this week ordered a rethink over part of the growth plans contained in the Joint Core Strategy - a blueprint for where 37,000 homes should be built in Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk over the next 15 years.

Following a legal challenge by Salhouse man Stephen Heard, chairman of Stop Norwich Urbanisation, Mr Justice Ouseley ordered that part of the blueprint - focusing on the Broadland area - must go back out for consultation and be resubmitted.

The document was drawn up by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership, which is made up of Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk Councils and Mr Heard said it was time to call for resignations after a strategy more than four years in the making had been found to be flawed.

But Andrew Proctor, chairman of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership and leader of Broadland District Council hit back at the resignation calls.

He said: 'We have noted the calls from the people who brought the action that heads must roll. But when you have a problem it is important to fix the problem, not to try to fix the blame.

'No part of that judgement in anyway reflected on the commitment, professionalism, competence or dedication of any of the parties involved.

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'It is not for the claimant to mete out punishment, the remedies on how to put this right are decided by the court.

'The JCS has been a huge undertaking that has involved many skilled officers and members from each authority. It has been a painstaking and lengthy process.

'In handing down the judgment, Mr Justice Ouseley noted the way in which the JCS was arrived at could not be regarded as unreasonable.'

He said the strategy had been the subject of 'frequent public consultations' and the strategy had been examined in public by planning inspectors over a three week period and found to be sound.

He said: 'Please rest assured we are on top of these issues. Our professional teams are working hard to resolve the snag in our procedures that led to the judge's ruling. We will put right the procedural omissions.'