Police call for development cash

Norfolk police are calling for a change in local planning policy to enable the force to benefit from funding provided by developers when major housing projects take place in the county.

Norfolk police are calling for a change in local planning policy to enable the force to benefit from funding provided by developers when major housing projects take place in the county.

At present, local authorities across the district can require developers to make a financial contribution towards education, recreation and other community facilities to meet the future needs of an expanding population.

But there is currently no provision for money to go towards enhancing existing police facilities that are also likely to come under pressure.

The issue has been brought into sharp focus by the force's estates manager, Duncan Potter, who has made a written objection to a planning application by Pelham Holdings to develop 3,000 new homes at Wymondham, together with a business park and community facilities.


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Mr Potter said in his letter to South Norfolk Council that Norfolk Constabulary objects to the development as no mention is made of enhancing police facilities. They are concerned that the scale of development proposed may impact directly on police services.

And he has asked to meet planning officers to discuss the need to address concerns that the police have raised - specifically the impact on Wymondham's safer neighbourhood team, providing a local police presence, and the level of custody provision in Norwich/south Norfolk to support the increase in population resulting from the development - if approved.

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Mr Potter said: “Local planning systems allow for developer contributions to be made for community infrastructure which historically has always been things such as school provision, libraries, fire hydrants, public open space, and recreation. The police are not receiving anything in terms of capital contributions.

“So what we have been saying is, in our opinion, the police shouldn't be made any different to the district council and county council. That's why we have objected and that's why we are making that point.”

Mr Potter said that a population increase would result in the force receiving additional funding through the council tax levied on individual households. But this was not an “up front” capital payment that could go towards upgrading existing facilities, such as building a new beat base if required, or an extension to house police staff.

He added: “We realise that the actual amount of the developer contribution depends on the local impact, and it's not just this Wymondham development. There's talk of development at Rackheath and Coltishall, and Thetford is a growth town. We are making our case to the planners and objecting to these large-scale schemes that will have an impact on police services.”

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