Looking to create new garden cities in Norfolk

Richard Bacon with speakers at the How Norfolk Should Grow conference

Richard Bacon with speakers at the How Norfolk Should Grow conference - Credit: Archant

New garden cities, a 'Norfolk Poundbury' and a mayor for the East were among the suggestions put forward by the region's leaders looking at how Norfolk should grow.

Self-build, garden city, town planning and infrastructure experts were among the speakers at the event which organiser South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said was just the start of a process to address challenges such as housing shortages, poor infrastructure and gaps in skills in the region.

A newly-formed 'working group' will be tasked with taking forward the 12-point plan shaped by delegates which included suggestions of a 'Norfolk Poundbury' like the experimental extension to Dorchester in Dorset built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, a design expert panel and the creation of a 'spokesman or mayor for the East' to promote the region to the world.

Mr Bacon admitted that gathering people together did not solve the problem overnight, but he was pleased with the quality and quantity of people present, which included council leaders from parish to county level, university heads, business figures and infrastructure bodies.

The MP told the conference at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich there was a need to create new models, such as garden cities, towns or villages like Letchworth in Hertfordshire. There were no suggestions about where a garden city, town or village might be built, but Mr Bacon said he wanted to see local communities come forward.

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'I want as much community voice as possible. I was particularly impressed with empowering parishes. At the end of the day a lot of people feel put upon, either by their district council or the county council; they feel put upon by the central government.

'If we show them that actually if, in your parish, you want to have some parishes for local people and in a way to protect that for local people – through a community model or through a Letchworth model. We want to have growth driven by people.'

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How do you think Norfolk should grow? Email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk and include your full contact details.

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