Fears recede over demand for thousands more homes in Norfolk countryside

Concerns have been raised over the impact of government changes to a blueprint over where homes are

There were fears that Norfolk's countryside would be damaged by government housing demands. - Credit: Archant

Fears more of Norfolk’s countryside could be lost because of a change in how the government estimates need for new homes look to have receded.

The government has rowed back on changes to an algorithm which determines how many new homes each area needs.

It would have meant nearly 2,000 extra homes would have to be built in Norfolk every year.

In Norfolk, that change would have meant the current target to build 4,116 homes a year would increase by just over 45pc to 5,969 new homes - an increase of 1,858 homes each year.

And it threw up anomalies, such as an increase of more than 105pc expected in South Norfolk, where the 893 homes per year target would soar to 1,832, while targets in Norwich would fall.

But the pressure on the government has persuaded them to change tack, with housing secretary Robert Jenrick saying the methodology is being "updated".


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He said changes reflect concerns more investment should be directed to the North and Midlands, with new development concentrated on brownfield sites.

The uncertainty had come at a tricky time for the Greater Norwich Local Development Partnership, which is trying to put together the Greater Norwich Local Plan - a blueprint for housing growth in and around Norwich.

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership , made up of members of Norwich City, Broadland District, South Norfolk and Norfolk County councils, had decided to push ahead with getting the plan together, despite uncertainty over what figures it needs to plan for.

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At a meeting on Wednesday, the board agreed to continue with the process.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, had called for a short pause, saying it was important, for the soundness of the plan, that the latest government guidance was taken on board.

South Norfolk Council Conservative leader John Fuller. Pic: Rose Sapey.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council. - Credit: Rose Sapey

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: "We have spent, it seems to me, years getting to this point and I am not minded to drag this process out any longer than we have to."

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. - Credit: Archant

It was agreed officers would look at the repercussions of the new government announcement, with a brief meeting to discuss the issue at the start of January, before the latest iteration of the plan goes to individual councils to put it out for public consultation.

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