Plan for thousands of new homes in and around Norwich agreed

A blueprint for more than 30,000 new homes and jobs in and around Norwich over the next two decades was rubber-stamped tonight (Tuesday).

Broadland, South Norfolk, and Norwich City councils all agreed tonight to adopt the joint core strategy (JCS).

The strategy, which has been more than three years in the making, outlines where new homes will be built and jobs created in the greater Norwich area by 2026.

Planning inspectors recently gave the green light to the plans, which were put together by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership.

The district councils had to approve the strategy and it will now be a framework against which future planning applications can be assessed.

This means developers who want to build homes in areas outlined in the blueprint will stand more chance of success, while it also includes schemes such as the Northern Distributor Road, the Long Stratton bypass and the eco-town at Rackheath.

Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew said the strategy was 'one of the most important documents we have ever considered.'

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The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives backed the adoption, but the Greens voted against it.

Supporters believe the growth plans will help deliver new homes and jobs in a properly phased way, and not leave the area vulnerable speculative applications. But critics, who fear it will pave the way for urban sprawl, warned the plans would effectively create a new town the size of Thetford to the north of Norwich in the area between the city and the Broads.

Broadland District Council agreed the joint core strategy by 23 votes to eight, despite strong opposition from residents who spoke at the meeting.

Richard Williams spoke against the proposals and told councillors that people were angry at the way the council had behaved.

He said: 'The JCS was created behind closed doors and was subject to little scrutiny.'

But councillor Ian Graham supported the JCS and said: 'The people I worry about are our children and grandchildren. Where are they going to live and work? I see this plan as being for the many people who are now out of work in our area or struggling to find decent housing.'

People in South Norfolk who have long campaigned for a bypass at Long Stratton hope the strategy will lead to that road becoming a reality.

Eight years of work on a planning blueprint for south Norfolk came to a conclusion last night with the adoption of the Joint Core Strategy, which will result in around 10,000 new homes in the district over the next 15 years.

The policy includes proposals for 2,200 extra homes in Wymondham, 1,000 in Hethersett, and 1,800 in Long Stratton, which would pave the way for a developer funded bypass scheme.

There is now a six-week window for a legal challenge, but work will soon start to introduce the new Community Infrastructure Levy.

That will be imposed on developers to help pay for the roads, schools and green spaces which will be needed to support the new homes.