10,000 homes to north of Norwich to be added to city’s planning blueprint

Norwich City Council last night backed a recommendation to put plans for up to 10,000 homes to the north-east of the city back into a blueprint for major growth.

However, the move split the council on party lines, with the ruling Labour group forcing it through but the Liberal Democrats and Greens both voting against the proposal.

A legal challenge had forced council officers to look again at the area's joint core strategy – a blueprint for where 37,000 homes could be built in Norwich, parts of Broadland and parts of south Norfolk – between now and 2026.

A judicial review obtained by Salhouse campaigner Stephen Heard had seen Mr Justice Ousely rule that the councils behind the blueprint had not demonstrated why an area to the north-east of Norwich was picked for up to 10,000 homes ahead of alternative locations.

Labour leader Brenda Arthur told last night's meeting that a careful review of the strategy and the consideration of two further options for housing allocations had still come out in favour of development in the north-east growth triangle of Rackheath, Old Catton, Spixworth and Thorpe St Andrew.

She therefore proposed the recommendation to take that option forward for public consultation.

Green spokesman Denise Carlo, pictured, said the High Court challenge had not been over a minor procedural error and sticking to the original plan would give people the impression of a failure to listen.

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'It is never a good idea to return to the status quo after such a major upset,' she said.

She said the Greens were in favour of shelving 2,000 of the homes proposed for the north-east growth triangle until after 2026.

Her party also called for a longer period of consultation than the eight weeks put forward by Labour.

Lib Dem leader James Wright said he was concerned about excessive growth in the Rackheath area and suggested option two – limiting development to inside the route of the planned northern distributor road around Norwich – should have been given greater consideration.

The third option considered in the review would have seen 2,400 of the new homes around the north-west and north-east of Broadland and a further 4,600 being built in Hethersett and Cringleford.

Broadland District Council will decide whether to follow suit and back option one at its meeting on August 2.

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