The idea of new 4,000 home garden village in Norfolk has been criticised by a charity which works to protect the countryside.

Honingham Thorpe is a potential new settlement to the west of Norwich, which would include thousands of homes, a school and a country park, if it were to go ahead.

Latimer, the development arm of the Clarion Housing Group, has been carrying out consultation over the possibility.

But the Norfolk branch of the Campaign To Protect Rural England says building should be on brownfield sites, rather than fields.

The CPRE recently published a report which showed how, nationally, the use of undeveloped greenfield land to build homes on soared by 148pc between 2006 and 2017.

Yet brownfield land being used for residential development dropped by 38pc in the same period.

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk, said: "Honingham is a bit of a thorn really. The food hub [at Easton] is interesting, but it seems to be a back door for development.

"We think there should be a policy of building on brownfield first.

"I don't think retail is going to go back to what it was before the pandemic, so there's an opportunity for residential development in the centres of cities and towns.

"That's where the infrastructure is, so people can be near jobs and services."

The Honingham suggestion was tabled during the development of the Greater Norwich Local Plan - a blueprint for where homes could be acceptable in Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland.

But, ultimately, it was not included in the plan submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for approval.

However, the door was left ajar for a future review of the plan to consider a new settlement.

The plan states: "With sustainable options for settlement extensions diminishing, the authorities are convinced that one or more new settlements will be required in the longer term, particularly if housing needs rise as signalled by government."

Latimer's consultation runs until the end of Monday, November 29 at

The UK's largest provider of affordable homes, Latimer has said it is committed to building sustainable and thriving communities.

The company said local input was "crucial" to formulate successful proposals.