‘I can’t just tell the government Norfolk is full’: MP on pressures for new housing
PUBLISHED: 16:48 16 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:11 17 February 2020
A Norfolk MP has said there cannot be an upper limit on the number of new houses needed in the county and has called for changes in how development and the pressures on local services are managed.
Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, said population growth made it inevitable more new homes would be needed in future and the current housing system was broken and that a 'quiet revolution' needed to happen at Westminster.
Speaking on local community station Park Radio, the Conservative MP when asked whether there was an upper limit on the number of new homes the county could take, said: "Do I ever expect to tell the government that Diss is full, that Norfolk is full? No, I don't."
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He added: "I don't think there is a specific number, it depends on how many people there are doesn't it? We have to remember that the population in this country has grown significantly. There are now seven million more people who live in the UK than when I was first elected 18 year ago.
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"Now, they all need somewhere to live, they also need other things that go with that. It puts pressure on public services, on the NHS, on school places, maternity services and, of course, on housing."
Public consultation is currently underway on the draft version of the Greater Norwich Local Plan, a blueprint for where homes could be built in Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland by 2038. The plan provides opportunities for about 44,500 new homes over the next 20 years.
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The prospect of thousands more homes had led to concerns over how local services will cope.
Barry Woods, chairman of Action for Harleston a group set up to discuss issues surrounding the town's future growth, said: "Houses keep being built and what we want is for the number of doctors, dentists and school places to be increased at the same rate in order to cope with the number of people we now have, plus any that we will have in the future."
Mr Bacon told the Diss-based radio station: "The problem is that people don't feel they have any say over what gets built, where it gets built, what it looks like, how it performs in terms of its quality and thermal performance and, fundamentally, who gets the chance to live in these new houses. Now, if you change that you change the conversation."