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Acle targeted for new homes

PUBLISHED: 10:23 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:46 30 June 2010

A question mark hangs over a blueprint for where tens of thousands of homes will be built in Norfolk - after a planning inspector raised a string of concerns about the strategy.

A question mark hangs over a blueprint for where tens of thousands of homes will be built in Norfolk - after a planning inspector raised a string of concerns about the strategy.

A planning inspector needs to agree that the Joint Core Strategy, drawn up by a group of councils in response to government calls for at least 36,000 new homes in and around Norwich by 2026, is sound before it can be used as a basis for agreeing or blocking planning applications.

Locally, Acle has been earmarked for between 100 and 200 homes.

If the inspector decides the strategy is not sound, it raises the troubling prospect of councils, without a blueprint for where growth should happen, finding it hard to turn down applications from developers for homes in other areas.

But at a meeting held in Norwich yesterday, planning inspector Roy Foster raised a string of “prelimin-ary soundness concerns” around key evidence elements of the strategy.

The concerns included the lack of a plan B if the Northern Distributor Road is not built; no targets for getting people to use public transport; and a lack of clarity on how important it will be to have infrastructure such as roads and schools in place before homes are built.

Mr Foster also said he had “particular soundness concerns” about the growth in Long Stratton. He pointed out that a report in 2007 practically wrote off the village as a suitable location for new homes, even if a bypass were to be built, because its links to Norwich were so poor - yet the strategy recommends 1,800 homes.

Officers from the councils who have drawn up the strategy, collectively known as the Greater Norwich Development Partnership and consisting of Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council, Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority, were challenged by the inspectors to point them towards evidence which backed up the blueprint's vision.


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