Norfolk’s population nears one million mark

New government figures have estimated that, by 2024, the population of Norfolk will be pushing close

New government figures have estimated that, by 2024, the population of Norfolk will be pushing close to a million. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

One can only imagine what the Normans would have made of it.

New government figures have estimated that, by 2024, the population of Norfolk will be pushing close to a million.

Yet, back in 1086, when the Domesday book was being put together after a vast survey - probably to figure out who owed what to the conquering Normans - the county's population was just 148,000.

According to that survey. Norwich had a mere 1,358 households.

But was still large enough and important enough to support the building of the city's cathedral and Norwich Castle - originally built 900 years ago as a royal palace for the Normans.

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The Black Death, which wiped out an estimated third of the UK's population in the 14th century, rather slowed Norfolk's progress, but since then the population has soared and soared.

In 2014, there were 877,710 people living in Norfolk, but by 2024 that figure is projected to have risen to 938,315. Based on the projections from the Office for National Statistics the million mark will be passed in 2036.

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But such a rise has repercussions, with those people needing places to live, work and be educated.

Cliff Jordan, leader of Norfolk County Council, said the increase would put pressure on services, particularly with the county's ageing population.

But he said the authority had plans in place to attempt to deal with those pressures.

He said: 'We know population is only going to go up, but this in itself is not necessarily a problem, as more people working in Norfolk will boost council tax and business rates in the county which will keep our services afloat.

'Our real challenge will be demographic changes – and we know that an ageing population will put pressure on health and social services.

'We are working closely with colleagues in the NHS to look at how to deal with this rising demand.'

And Mr Jordan said work was already under way to make sure the county has enough school places to educate the younger generation.

He said: 'We have already started to see a greater need for primary school places and have done a huge amount to cater for youngsters by providing an extra 4,600 places in Norfolk between 2011 and 2017.

''As these children get older, we will see the same demand for secondary schools, but we have solid plans in place with up to 18 new primary schools and one new high school in the pipeline over the next 15 years so I'm confident we are on the right track.'

The area in Norfolk which will see the greatest rise between 2014 and 2024, will be South Norfolk.

The district is set for a projected 12.5pc rise, from 129,226 in 2014 to an estimated 145,437 in 2024.

Norwich and Breckland are due to increase by 7pc, but all districts will see an increase of at least 4pc.

Councils have spent years putting together blueprints, such as the joint core strategy, which covers Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland, to plan for where the new homes will be.

But those plans came in for criticism from organisations such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, who fear the county's rural's nature is under threat.

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