Developers across Norfolk have expressed their frustration with a temporary ban on the building of new homes in much of the county.

Norfolk’s councils were in March told by government advisor Natural England that planning permission cannot be granted for new “overnight accommodation” in the catchment areas of the river Wensum and the Broads - due to fears over pollution.

Until councils can prove that they have measures in place to achieve 'nutrient neutrality', the measures effectively mean that no new houses can be built in Norwich or much of the surrounding countryside.

Julian Wells, a director at FW Properties, said: “We find ourselves in a very frustrating situation indeed, and not just us, we all do - local planning authorities, developers and contractors.”

Eastern Daily Press: Julian Wells, a director at FW PropertiesJulian Wells, a director at FW Properties (Image: FW Properties)

The developer said that the industry was already grappling with soaring construction costs.

“Life is not very easy at the moment, from a construction viewpoint, and added to this, this is exactly what none of us needed right now,” said Mr Wells.

The measures are impacting on the construction of 54 homes proposed by FW Properties - 31 in Newton Flotman and 23 in Bracon Ash.

Mr Wells said he felt “genuinely very sorry” for the councils who were suddenly having to respond to the measures and that he had been “given great confidence and strength” by the knowledge they were working hard to find solutions.

But he warned that he “won’t be quite as calm" if the situation is the same in 12 months' time.

Eastern Daily Press: Simon Bryan, development director at Hopkins HomesSimon Bryan, development director at Hopkins Homes (Image: Archant Norfolk 2015)

Mr Wells was joined in his frustrations by Simon Bryan, development director for Hopkins Homes, who said: “It will hinder the councils’ abilities to deliver new homes to meet the area’s housing needs and alleviate the pressures of the local and national housing shortage that they are required to do, together with delaying significant financial contributions to infrastructure projects that are secured through the planning process.”

Paul LeGrice, managing director at Abel Homes, said that firms like his are building homes, saying: "To meet the housing need in many of our local communities, and at the same time creating and sustaining many jobs in the construction sector for local people.

Eastern Daily Press: Paul LeGrice, managing director at Abel HomesPaul LeGrice, managing director at Abel Homes (Image: Abel Homes)

“It is therefore important that a solution to 'nutrient neutrality' is found without unnecessary delay.”

Natural England has said it is providing guidance to councils and developers to help them meet the new requirements.