New town plan put back

Policy chiefs have put back plans to develop a controversial new town south of Norwich in a deal aimed at safeguarding a commitment to build thousands of new homes in and around the city.

Policy chiefs have put back plans to develop a controversial new town south of Norwich in a deal aimed at safeguarding a commitment to build thousands of new homes in and around the city.

Under a deal thrashed out by members of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) - a coalition of four councils covering the area - proposals for a new town at Mangreen have been put back pending more detailed work into its feasibility.

The GNDP is committed to building the homes as part of a joint core strategy which needs to be submitted to government for approval.

With developers mothballing housing schemes because of the recession, there are questions about whether the targets can be met, but the deal means that a public consultation can start on March 5.


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In a twin-track process, new studies will also be commissioned looking at options for future growth in new villages.

South Norfolk Council had lobbied hard for a Mangreen scheme to be included in the housing totals from 2018 - but the idea had met resistance, with Norwich concerned it would cause gridlock along the A140 Ipswich Road.

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Residents were also fiercely opposed to the new town idea.

Failure to break the deadlock could have put at risk the timetable for other projects such as the Rackheath eco-town, the Norwich northern bypass, and the Postwick hub improvements.

But in exchange for a Mangreen delay, the partnership will now carry out feasibility work on future new settlements, which South Norfolk hopes will prevent more houses being bolted on to areas such as Wymondham, Hethersett, and Cringleford.

The proposed housing numbers under the proposed joint core strategy are:

> Sprowston/Rackheath - 7,000.

> Norwich - 3,000.

> Wymondham - 2,200.

> Long Stratton - 1,800.

> Hethersett - 1,000.

> Colney/Cringleford - 1,200.

> Easton - 1,000.

Additional smaller sites around South Norfolk will also yield 1,800 homes.

Brian Morrey, the city council's executive member for sustainable development, welcomed the compromise: 'It means we can keep to our timescales and go out to consultation,' he said. 'It includes all the stuff that people were talking about originally, but just excludes Mangreen because it doesn't have the evidence base.'

South Norfolk council leader John Fuller said: 'What has emerged, and the other parties have accepted the point, is that when future developments come to be considered we can look at new sites rather than bolting on to existing communities.

'That means we can give complete reassurance to people in Wymondham, Hethersett and Long Stratton that what they see now is it.'

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