Council leader’s warning over ‘tax’ on new homes in Norfolk

Concerns have been raised that a delay in setting a new levy on housebuilders could see homes built without proper infrastructure.

A successful High Court challenge to a blueprint mapping out where 37,000 homes should be built in and around Norwich up to 2026 has had a knock-on effect over the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy - a sum imposed on developers to pay for roads, schools and public spaces.

A High Court judge's ruling means the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP), made up of Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council, will have to look again at alternatives to housing growth to the north east of Norwich.

Because GNDP officers need to assess whether that will have an impact on the levy, submission of the proposed charges has been delayed.

That led to a warning from John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, that lengthy delays to the introduction of the levy could lead to developers building homes before much-needed roads, schools and public spaces are in place.

He said: 'In South Norfolk we have huge immediate pressures and it is critical that the CIL is resolved as soon as possible.'

He said it was vital that it be introduced by September and warned: 'Any further delay will affect our ability to deliver infrastructure ahead of housing.'

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GNDP officers reassured Mr Fuller they would be working 'expediently' to ensure the timetable for bringing in the charge is achieved.

The board also agreed to move forward with work to re-analyse where housing should be built to the north east of Norwich, as directed by Mr Justice Ouseley.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council and chairman of the GNDP, said: 'The High Court ruling has unfortunately been interpreted by some as putting our whole strategy back to square one.

'Nothing could be further from the truth. The judgement leaves the strategy intact as far as South Norfolk Council, Norwich City and areas of Broadland outside the Norwich policy area are concerned.

'Also the judge acknowledged that the authorities 'may well be right that the option of no north east growth triangle growth is unrealistic'.'

• Do you have a story about a local council? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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