Drive to build thousands more homes could damage Norfolk’s rural character, warn countryside campaigners

Countryside campaigners fear Norfolk's rural character is under threat from housing. Pic: Paul Harri

Countryside campaigners fear Norfolk's rural character is under threat from housing. Pic: Paul Harrison. - Credit:

Norfolk's rural character is in danger of being lost unless a more common sense approach is taken to deciding where homes are built, countryside campaigners have warned.

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk. Pic: David Jones.

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk. Pic: David Jones. - Credit: David Jones

The Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England tonight launched its Vision for Norfolk campaign, amid concern acres of fields will be sacrificed to chase government targets for housing.

Launched at Norwich Cathedral's Hostry, the campaign calls for the rejection of a centrally imposed, 'one size fits all' approach to planning for homes in favour of policies which will preserve Norfolk's character, at the same time as providing the economic growth the county needs.

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk, stressed the organisation was not against development, but wanted the right type of housing, in the right quantity and in the right place.

He said: 'Housing must be built, where possible on brownfield sites, planned for and by communities, with a substantial amount of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

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'Infrastructure must be funded up front, including all the services thriving communities require. Housing must be well designed, attractive and diverse with gardens and green areas, and all housing must have high resource conservation measures making them cheap to run.

'Locations should reduce the daily commute by being close to jobs. This requires an entirely new approach to housing provision and infrastructure funding.'

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He said it was time land stopped being valued solely in terms of how much it was worth for housing and valued on other merits.

He said: 'We should value our land properly, measuring its ability to produce food, its leisure and conservation uses, flood alleviation abilities all on a equivalent basis to its development value when making decisions.'

Mr Dady added: 'Norfolk's local authorities have already identified a long term supply of land for housing, and this should be built first before allocating more greenfield land for large new estates.'

CPRE Norfolk is planning to lobby MPs and councillors and is planning a string of roadshows, about the campaign, around the county.

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