New Norfolk villages may have to be considered to meet housing targets
- Credit: Nick Butcher/Neil Perry
New garden villages may have to be considered for Norfolk, because of potential changes in the way the government estimates targets for new homes, council bosses have said.
The government has put forward a white paper which would bring a shake-up in the planning system and is also consulting on a change to the formula used to assess housing need.
In Norfolk, that change would mean 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.
It comes at a tricky time for the Greater Norwich Local Development Partnership, which is trying to put together the Greater Norwich Local Plan - a blueprint which would drive housing growth in and around Norwich.
The Greater Norwich Growth Board, made up of members of Norwich City, Broadland District, South Norfolk and Norfolk County councils, has decided to push ahead with getting that plan together, despite uncertainty over what figures it needs to plan for.During the course of the process for that plan, developers had mooted possible new settlements, including at Honingham, Hethel and Silfield.
And, at a meeting of the Greater Norwich Growth Board, Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said such a settlement may need to be considered if planning for a higher number of homes is demanded.
He said: “If we really are going to be facing a huge, great, number increase, then there is going to have to be something done and maybe the best way is to look at new settlements.
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“Having said that, I know there’s lots of noise in the system by various promoters about ‘this one is better than the other one’ etcetera.
“But my concern about that is that none of these have really come up with anything of substance. But, having said that, there ought to be something in the policy direction that we would favour new settlements.
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“Whether that’s the right word or not, I don’t know, but something along those lines. We do need to look at it.”
The meeting also saw John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, express his concerns that the “dash for the line”, to get the plan adopted, could lead to it being found to be unsound.