New garden village for Norfolk mooted as hunt continues to find sites for 7,000 homes
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The prospect of a new garden village in Norfolk has been mooted, as council bosses wrestle with where more than 7,000 more homes should be built in the county.
Council bosses say that, between now and 2036, they need to provide sites for nearly 43,000 new homes in Greater Norwich - the area covered by councils in Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.
While the sites for nearly 30,000 of those homes has been established through various blueprints, that leaves locations for 7,200 still to be found.
The various councils had asked landowners, developers and the public to put forward possible sites for development.
And consultation over the strategy the councils should adopt, known as the Greater Norwich Local Plan, will start next week.
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The possibility of a new 4,000 home village on nearly 900 acres at Honingham Thorpe had already been put forward, but it has now emerged that a similar sized site to the west of Hethel is also been mooted for a garden village.
That site, the Stanfield Hall Estate, off the B1135 Stanfield Road between Hethel and Wymondham, has been proposed for housing, hi-tech employment and community facilities.
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The government is keen on garden villages. In January last year it announced access to £6m over two years to support the delivery of 14 new ones and is offering expertise and new planning freedoms to help them happen.
But council officers say: 'At this point in time, the overall case for a new settlement in Greater Norwich is by no means clear.
'There are not the local constraints to developing sustainable locations on the edge of existing settlements in Greater Norwich that apply in some other parts of the region and the country.
They say it could be more sustainable and cost effective to develop alternative sites, rather than focusing on new settlements.
And they say: 'Given the difficulty in providing infrastructure to support new settlement growth, and to avoid having a negative impact on other growth promoted through the Greater Norwich Local Plan, it is essential that a legal commitment is made by landowners and prospective developers with the councils if a new settlement is to be progressed.
'This would involve a commitment to re-invest substantial amounts of the profit resulting from the uplift in land values following the granting of any planning permission into the long term provision of infrastructure to support a new settlement.'
The approach being taken is to establish a 'baseline' of 3,900 homes, with 1,700 on previously developed land within Norwich and the built up areas of the fringe parishes.
At least 1,000 more would be in towns and key service centres, 1,000 in what are known as service villages and 200 in other villages.
But it is where the reaming 3,300 homes will go, which has caused friction between the leaders of the councils involved about where the extra homes should be located.
Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters favours development in and near Norwich, while South Norfolk leader John Fuller has been pushing for more dispersal of the homes into rural areas.
The consultation, which starts on Monday and runs until mid March, will ask the public to consider a string of options for where the homes should be located.
Options include concentrating homes close to Norwich, focusing them along transport corridors, dispersing them in rural areas, dispersal with a new settlement and dispersal plus urban growth.
The final approach could be a mixture of those options.
After the local plan is drawn up, a government inspector will consider it, with a public examination scheduled to start in June 2020, and the plan adopted in December 2020.
Last year, the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said communities should join forces to make clear they do not want 'unnecessary' extra homes.
David Hook, CPRE trustee and chairman of its planning committee, said then: 'While CPRE Norfolk supports the provision of the right kind of housing in the right locations, particularly affordable housing, we consider the housing targets and site allocations in the current local plan for Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland are more than sufficient to cover the level of development that will occur up to 2036.'