CPRE Norfolk hopes to forge new alliance to combat Greater Norwich housing ambitions

A national campaign body hopes to forge a new alliance to help give local community groups a united voice against large-scale housing targets around Norwich.

The Norfolk branch of the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) has lobbied for a reduction in the ambitions of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) to see 37,000 homes built by 2026 through its Joint Core Strategy (JCS).

At the same time, many communities have come together to form groups opposed to specific proposals in their areas.

The CPRE has invited all these groups to a strategy meeting in Hethersett on Tuesday (17th) to discuss how they can work together on the issues of housing targets, transparency and the local implications of the government's National Planning Policy Framework.

CPRE Norfolk's planning and campaigns manager Caroline Davison said: 'CPRE Norfolk is looking forward to working with local campaign groups that have sprung up in response to the JCS's unrealistic and potentially damaging housing targets for their communities.

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'Of course, we all accept that some new housing is necessary - but the current target of 37,000 in the greater Norwich area is unsustainable. For all of us campaigning against the housing targets, the proposed alliance will provide a strong and unified voice of opposition to the GNDP's housing policy.

'It is going to be a very simple campaigning point: We want the housing targets to be reduced overall. People must realise that this is not 'nimbyist'. These are local groups but if they are willing to join up for this alliance it shows they are concerned about the whole Greater Norwich area, and not just about what is planned in their back yard.'

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Groups including Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB), Hethersett Our Way (HOW), Friends of Thorpe Woodlands and Realistic Reepham are among those due to attend the meeting.

Phil Emery of HOW said: 'Without wishing to be disparaging, we are a disparate bunch of groups who all have our own areas of interest, but at the end of the day the overall aim is the same. The planned developments in Norfolk are unsuitable and unsustainable.'

GNDP chairman Andrew Proctor defended the JCS targets. He said: 'There is a chronic housing shortage nationally and the problem has not gone away.

'We need investment in our communities and we need homes that people can afford in our area so that local people can choose to remain in the district where they were raised and where they have family and friends and community connections.

'We want to work with local communities to ensure that they get the maximum value out of development for their community, whether that is somewhere for young people to call their own, space for recreation and leisure or any other community facilities.

'The JCS is not just about building homes, although that's where people are tending to focus, it is about the long term prosperity of the area.'

?If you represent a local group and want to be involved in the meeting, contact Caroline Davison on carolined@cprenorfolk.org.uk or call 01603 761660.

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