Norfolk is not the right place for new towns to be built, campaigners have warned, after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said such developments were crucial to provide more housing.

At the Labour Party Conference, Sir Keir announced his party will build a series of new towns across the country to stop housing being "a luxury for the few".

Eastern Daily Press: The location of the proposed 'railway village'The location of the proposed 'railway village' (Image: Google)

He said he wanted to get 1.5 million new homes built within five years of the next Parliament.

But campaigners trying to block plans for a new 'railway village' in Norfolk, said the housing targets must not come at the cost of the country's countryside.

Eastern Daily Press: Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE NorfolkChris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk (Image: Archant Norfolk 2018)

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk, said: "Norfolk has poor transport links, so we are not a good place for large new town developments, and there is not much left of our historic railway network - even if it could be rebuilt it would take tens of years and huge investment. 

"So we think that there are strong arguments to look elsewhere for major schemes and that there is a huge amount of work to do before any headline announcements can be properly assessed.

"That is not to say there will need to be some new development in Norfolk, but we need to make best use of what we have - including brownfield sites - before we pour any more concrete onto the countryside."

Eastern Daily Press: Sir Keir StarmerSir Keir Starmer (Image: PA)

Labour has said new town locations will be close to busy transport hubs, very high levels of housing need and avoidance of nature spots and important green spaces.

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That would appear to rule out the controversial 'railway village' - named because of its proximity to the Mid Norfolk Railway heritage route - which would see up to 5,000 homes built on farming land between the villages of North Elmham, Billingford and Bintree, north of Dereham.

Eastern Daily Press: If it were to go ahead, the railway village would be built on farmland near BintreeIf it were to go ahead, the railway village would be built on farmland near Bintree (Image: Denise Bradley)

No planning application for the development has been lodged, but it was speculatively put forward by Bristol-based planning consultant Black Box Planning as part of Breckland Council's process to develop a new local plan.

There have also been previous suggestions for new towns at Honingham and Hethel.