27 homes could be built in riverside village despite Broads housing ban

An alert has been issued warning of possible flooding along the tidal River Yare, including at Reedh

27 homes could be built in Reedham - Credit: Archant

Twenty seven homes could be built in a Broads village just 300 metres from the river, despite a widespread halt on new houses being allowed across Norfolk, over fears they are polluting the waterways.

The proposal to put up the properties in Reedham, close to the River Yare, will not be delayed by the moratorium on housing development imposed by Natural England, because they would be located just outside the area covered by the ban.

The government agency introduced a so-called 'nutrient neutrality' directive in April, preventing councils from approving plans for new homes until they can ensure the developments will not create wastewater pollution which is harmful to the rivers.

An alert has been issued warning of possible flooding along the tidal River Yare, including at Reedh

27 homes could be built in Reedham - Credit: Archant

The measures cover vast swathes of the county and are specifically intended to protect the Broads, including the River Yare. However, the area covered ends around four miles from Reedham.

The proposal highlights the complexities of the 'nutrient neutrality' issue, which has caused frustration for developers and councils as they struggle to find ways to prevent pollution from housing schemes and get the ban lifted.

Under the Reedham plans, a developer wants to build 27 homes on Barn Owl Close, off Station Road, and neighbouring agricultural land.

A planning statement from the developers, lodged with Broadland District Council, said the site and its local water recycling centre were both outside the area affected by the rules. 

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It even cited the rules as a reason to approve the scheme.

Looking towards where the development has been proposed

Looking towards where the development has been proposed - Credit: Google Street View

The document said: “Given the likely medium-term impact of the nutrient neutrality issue on the housing land supply and the requirement for councils to demonstrate a five-year land supply of available sites, we submit that our application which is policy compliant and should be approved.

"As developers, we are keen to commence work on the development at this popular location.” 

The development will be a mixture of houses and bungalows, with one to four beds each.

One neighbour has written in support of the plan but has raised concerns about the impact on hedgehogs.

They said: I would like to see this site made hedgehog friendly by interlinking all properties on the site with hedgehog highways to compensate for the loss of foraging area as many local authorities are now doing.

"This provision has no, or minimal cost to the developer but has a massive impact on the hedgehogs."

Michael Rayner, a planning consultant for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), has objected to the plans, arguing it is outside the Reedham settlement boundary and, therefore, would be against council policy.