South Norfolk gears up for homes consultation

South Norfolk is gearing up for another round of consultation in an effort to decide where to build thousands of new homes across the district over the next 15 years.

According to the Joint Core Strategy, adopted by South Norfolk Council earlier this year, 10,500 new homes will be built in the district by 2026 - with most of these being allocated in the area closest to Norwich, known as the Norwich Policy Area (NPA).

Now residents will have 12 weeks this autumn to highlight which plots they would prefer to see go forward for development out of hundreds of sites nominated by developers.

Comments will also be asked on settlement boundaries and planning policies on issues such as maintaining the gaps between towns and protecting the character of the landscape.

Residents in Wymondham and Long Stratton, which are due to take on 2,200 and 1,800 new homes respectively, will at the same time be consulted on Area Action Plans which will specifically map out how their towns should deliver the extra dwellings and new infrastructure over the years.

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Speaking at a meeting of South Norfolk's cabinet on Monday, Tim Horspole, planning policy manager, said developers had nominated about 1,500 pieces of land, which would need to be narrowed down to about 100.

'I can not stress enough how important local views are on this. Local people certainly have knowledge of their area and as an officer I can not live everywhere. This local knowledge is invaluable when we come to look at the sites and make our recommendations,' he said.

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The consultation will also provide some guidance on where an additional 1,800 'floating' homes could be built, which need to be distributed throughout the NPA.

Joe Mooney, who represents Wymondham, said: 'Wymondham has been allocated 2,200 houses which we accept. With this 1,800 there is a concern in Wymondham that some of those houses may come to the town. Wymondham has taken on a lot of houses in the last couple of years. Will you give me assurances that the villages will take their fair share of the area's housing need?'

Council leader John Fuller said he could not pre-empt the results of the consultation, but added: 'We are commited to helping our villages thrive. Developments in the villages will help local builders. It's not just about homes but jobs as well. We are resolved that villages take their fair share and have an opportunity to join in this growth.'

The consultation will run from August 29 to November 18. The responses should be collated by spring next year and a further consultation on a list of preferred sites for development will follow.

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