North Norfolk District Council set to approve land sales in Edgefield, Erpingham, Trunch, Binham and Great Ryburgh for affordable homes

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick. Picture: IAN BURT

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

Nearly 60 badly-needed affordable homes could be built in villages across north Norfolk if councillors agree to sell off plots of land together worth just over £1m.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is set to sell sites it owns in Edgefield, Erpingham, Trunch, Binham, and Great Ryburgh to be developed with homes.

The council has been approached about the five sites by Broadland St Benedict's, a subsidiary of Broadland Housing Association.

Broadland would build a total of 88 homes on the land, 65pc of which would be affordable. The sale of the remaining 35pc of homes on the open market would subsidise the affordable properties.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of NNDC, said local people, either from the village itself or surrounding parishes, would have priority when it came to allocating the affordable homes on each site.

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The land parcels are among 30 earmarked for housing but not used in the days when councils built their own homes.

The five would all be treated as countryside 'exception' sites meaning that planning permission would only be considered for developments including affordable homes, because of the desperate need in the district.

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Open-market homes would be built alongside affordable properties on land off Eagle Road, Erpingham; and Priory Close, Binham.

Affordable homes only would be built on land off Rectory Road, Edgefield; Cornish Avenue, Trunch; and Highfield Close, Great Ryburgh.

Broadland had also hoped to buy land off Highfield Road, Fakenham, but the site is currently leased to Fakenham Town Council which runs it as a free car park, and NNDC says it is not for sale.

Mr FitzPatrick said the developments would depend on planning approval and applications would go through the normal process.

'At one time a lot of villages resisted new development but there is a great housing need and new homes help keep villages alive,' he added.

Members of NNDC's cabinet, meeting on Monday, have been recommended to give the go-ahead for the land sales.

Monday's North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) cabinet meeting is also set to approve a £3.5m loan to Broadland Housing Association and £0.75m to Broadland St Benedicts.

The cash would be used to build about 100 affordable and open-market homes on sites across the district.

Until last year NNDC had given grants to 'registered providers' - mostly housing associations - but changed its policy in September and set up a loan scheme instead.

NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'Everyone's a winner with this. The district council will get interest on the loan, people will have houses and Broadland gets the money it needs for development.

'Money is going to get tighter. Central government funding, inevitably, is going to reduce so we have to take our assets and use them in imaginative ways like this.

'And, as well as housing, it will help create jobs. They say each new house creates three jobs,' Mr FitzPatrick added.

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