Norfolk’s population is set to soar to one million in the next two decades
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press vÉ‚Äö
Leaders from across the region will meet for 'candid discussions' about how to accommodate a population set to soar to one million in Norfolk over the next two decades.
Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has warned the region is facing a 'critical point' with a 'broken system' of development ahead of a day-long seminar about how Norfolk should grow.
A rise in single person households and immigration are among the factors which the South Norfolk parliamentarian says mean there is 'no question' the number of people living in the county is set to soar.
He said there was a paradox between those who wanted their children to have somewhere to live, and the widespread, sometimes fierce opposition to development which often saw several hundred near identical-houses bolted on to the edge of existing settlements by speculative house builders.
'Much of the proposed development is being or is likely to be strongly resisted by residents who feel - rightly or wrongly - that their communities are being changed around them by a process which they can neither control nor influence and where their concerns are largely ignored.'
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He said there was also opposition as people feared it would put pressure onto local schools, doctors and other local facilities because the infrastructure that went with development was not done in a holistic way.
'The problem is now so acute we need lots of solutions. One solution is not going to solve the whole problem,' he said.
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The seminar will also address the wider issues of how Norfolk will grow including around skills, infrastructure and economic growth.
Mr Bacon said leaders could look at:
• How to roll out broadband more quickly
• A system which listens harder to what people want from housing, including more access to self-build plots
But he said that more ideas about practical solutions to how Norfolk should grow would emerge during the seminar tomorrow.
'The challenge will be to make sure it is not just a talking shop and that we take away things we want to see. We want to make sure we understand all the things we need to do to make sure we have got high quality broadband. Housing – we need to make sure we have all the things we need to do to make sure we have enough housing for our own people.
'It is possible for local authorities with the right vision and imagination to seize the initiative and shape the kind of future we want so that we have somewhere to live we are proud of so our descendents will look back and say thank goodness they built that, rather than how on earth did we allow that to be built. We are already seeing it has been done badly in terms of large blocks of not particularly well thought out housing development where people are saying those are the ghettos of the future and I want to prevent anymore of those potential mistakes occurring.
How should Norfolk grow? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk