Homes proposals 'will swamp the area'

FAR-reaching house building proposals revealed this week have put Wymondham and Attleborough in line for a staggering 18,000 new homes, sparking fears the area could be swamped.

FAR-reaching house building proposals revealed this week have put Wymondham and Attleborough in line for a staggering 18,000 new homes, sparking fears the area could be swamped.

The plans, which cover the whole county, could see Wymondham almost treble in size with 10,000 homes earmarked, compared to the current plan of 3,000, and 8,000 homes to the south of Attleborough, where residents had previously only known about a figure of 4,000.

Elsewhere Thetford would more than double in size and 12,000 homes would be built at the former RAF Coltishall.

None of the projects is set in stone, but their very existence caused outrage across the region this week, prompting concern about infrastructure provision, water resources and the destruction of greenfield sites.


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The figures have been published by the East of England Regional Assembly, which invited developers to send in wish lists of what they want to build in the coming years.

The proposals will be fed into a review of the East of England Plan, also known as the regional spatial strategy, which will identify housing development figures through until 2031. The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) has suggested Norfolk will need to build an extra 67,000 homes by 2031, on top of 74,700 extra houses already in the pipeline over the next 18 years.

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Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transport, said: “These housing figures are beginning to get into cloud cuckoo land.”

“These types of development would be wholly undesirable, damaging to the particular attractiveness of the Norfolk environment, impractical and unfeasible.

“I think the vast majority of Norfolk people will regard this as just plain crazy. EERA has does this the wrong way round, looking at the end result of numbers before looking at the potential implications.”

Ian Shepherd, planning policy co-ordinator at the Norfolk branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), said the new figures clearly needed rethinking.

“This is pie in the sky, finger in the wind. To keep ladling in more and more homes, swamping whole areas and entire towns, leaves me worried about the mindset of some people in higher levels of government.

Derrick Ashley, chairman of EERA's regional planning panel, insisted the published list was simply a list of submissions from developers and it did not mean the assembly was supportive of the proposals.

“The overall evidence will be used to help develop broad options for new housing development in the region up to 2031, which will be published for public consultation in Spring 2009.”

To view the EERA document outlining the proposals, log on to:

http://www.eera.gov.uk

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