Concern over village expansion plans in south Norfolk

Plans for thousands of new homes in south Norfolk have gone back to the drawing board over concerns about the proposed expansion of scores of villages.

The district is set to grow by more than 10,000 homes over the next 15 years as part of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy.

But the latest public consultation on where the new development should go has been held back by South Norfolk Councillors over the location of 1,800 'floating' homes.

The district council has already earmarked towns and villages near Norwich to receive the bulk of the new development by 2026, including 2,200 in Wymondham, 1,800 in Long Stratton, 1,200 in Cringleford, 1,000 in Costessey and Easton and 1,000 in Hethersett.

However, councillors were today unable to agree on how another 1,800 homes should be distributed across south Norfolk, which could end up being tagged on to the end of other major developments.

A consultation, which is due to run from July 25 to October 14, will seek residents' views on area action plans (AAP) for Wymondham and Long Stratton and site specific policies for the rest of South Norfolk.

However, members said they were concerned that some settlements had been classed as 'service villages' capable of receiving ten to 20 new homes on top of infill within the development boundary.

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William Kemp, chairman of planning, said the rural economy had changed and some villages may no longer be suitable for expansion because they do not have facilities like a shop and bus service.

Leader John Fuller said the consultation document was 'not suitable' and would be reworked by the council's Local Development Framework group. He added that the majority of growth in South Norfolk would be concentrated nearer to Norwich.

'Now is the time to have clarity for landowners and residents; 1,100 landowners have put land forward and we may only need 50 to 100 sites. If we fail to get this out, developers will be able to build wherever they like and that is not in everyone's interests. The risk is that Wymondham will get an extra 1,800 by not planning for other villages,' he said.

Bev Spratt said that the council's Local Development Framework was eight years down the line and had been 'a bit of a disaster'.

Roydon councillor David Goldson said it was 'lunacy' that an almost 120 home development being built between the village and Diss was not included in the figures.

The district council has dropped plans for an area action plan for Park Road, Diss, because Diss Town Council has expressed a desire to formulate a neighbourhood plan for the area. An AAP will also not be carried out for the Norwich Research Park after opting to use existing planning policies to drive home its expansion.

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