West Norfolk set for future development

Borough strategy for growth approved by planning inspector

A development strategy for West Norfolk, including 4,500 new homes for King's Lynn and employment land to generate 3,000 jobs, has been approved by a planning inspector.

The Core Strategy consists of more than 100 pages outlining future growth for the whole borough up to 2026, and will replace the Local Plan, which was put together in 1998, when it is adopted by West Norfolk Council.

New housing is centred in and around Lynn to meet rising demand and to keep the town developing over the coming years. It will account for 44pc of new housing in the borough – with 1,600 towards West Winch as the area is opened up for greater development. Provision for a further 2,000 new homes is also made to the north of the town.

Lynn will also see 75pc of land allocated for employment uses to create jobs for a population the council hopes will grow by 50,000 across the borough in the next 15 years.

The strategy has taken three years to develop and looks at each area of the borough in detail – although the site-specific plans will not be revealed until later this year.

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said: 'For King's Lynn to retain its role as a major service centre, it is crucial that we have policies in place that encourage growth. But in facilitating this growth, we have to be sensitive to the unique character of West Norfolk. With its beautiful coastline and stunning countryside and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty just a stone's throw from historic market towns, it is vital that this environment is protected.

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'I believe that this development framework has achieved a good balance. It encourages the housing development necessary to stimulate business investment, secure vital services such as hospitals, schools and colleges, and attract retailers and leisure prov-iders, but at the same time respects and enhances our built and natural environment,' he added.

A separate infrastructure study of the borough on the potential impact of the growth has revealed that major investment, both private finance and from the public sector, may well be needed in order to maintain the pace of development.

New GP centres, schools, a second fire station for Lynn and new care-home beds are all listed as possible requirements in the future, although much will be dependent on the fortunes of both the national and local economy.

The report says: 'This Core Strategy sets sustainable development at the heart of its planning agenda. Its vision is for sustainable growth that delivers a quality borough with a sustainable economy and strong and healthy communities within environmental limits.'

Outside of Lynn, Downham Market and Hunstanton are highlighted as key towns within the borough, with 390 new homes in Downham, predominantly on the A10 corridor, and 220 for Hunstanton to the south and east of the town.

The borough's larger villages will see development limited, but 600 new homes will be delivered in the next 15 years. Smaller villages and hamlets will have little or no development, unless it meets strict criteria.

West Norfolk is the fourth-largest district in England and covers 550sq miles with a population of around 143,500. By 2017, a quarter of the population will be over retirement age and 10pc will be 75 or older.

The report highlights a lack of aspiration, with GCSE and A-level results both lower than the national average, and it says there is a lack of good-quality employment land.

The site specific allocations, showing what land has been earmarked for what type of future development, if any, is due to be put out to public consultation later this year.

Strategy sets sustainable development at the heart of its planning agenda. Its vision is for sustainable growth that delivers a quality borough with a sustainable economy and strong and healthy communities within environmental limits.'

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