Letter to EDP

Simon Woodbridge (EDP 8 Jan 2010) thinks that the community group, Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB) are disingenuous and should accept that Broadland District Council tends the needs of the community. It is precisely the lack of a proper consideration or democratic process which gave rise to this group in the first place. Broadland District Council does not appear to understand this. They listen to the voices of the developers ahead of their residents and an inner clique makes all the decisions.

The creation of the Growth Triangle in the Joint Core Strategy with the stated intention of turning North East Norwich into another urban sprawl shows scant regard for the communities which it will affect. Simon Woodbridge was on the East of England Regional Assembly when the house building ‘allocations’ were concocted and a member of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership who decided that Broadland would take a major part of the development of 38,000 houses. Unlike Herts and Beds, no Norfolk council challenged the extent of the development being foisted upon them. SNUB is in contact with other community groups around England who are all fighting this Government inspired expansion and the dictatorial tone is a common feature. Of course this will shackle any incoming administration to spend money that they do not possess and we will pay for that.

The Joint Core Strategy on which all this is based adds up to a cost of well over a £1,000,000,000, excluding the £28.3m reported in today’s paper.

So far as it relates to Broadland many of these costs are unquantified but for healthcare the funding only covers 2 GP’s and 2 Dentists (probably by 2016) and the growth triangle has to wait until 2021 for a Primary Care Centre (a new GP surgery to you and me). Meanwhile, the NNUH is already overstretched and has been on alert for weeks if not months. There is a vague commitment to provide 10 Acute and 9 Maternity beds between 2008 and 2026. Eighteen months ago they closed the Dussindale Walk in Centre. Is any of this sensible or compatible with the growth proposed?

It has been left to SNUB to point out discrepancies as they emerged. Taking a simple example, the so-called eco town at Rackheath being spearheaded by Paul Knowles of developers, Building Partnerships.

In October 2008, The EDP reported Mr Knowles as saying that this eco-town would be a 3,400 dwelling development. By November 2009 it had risen to 4,150 and at a meeting in December, the number reported to the Programme Board was 5,015. The original proposal was already bigger than Thorpe Marriott and Dussindale combined.

Now it is half as big again and no questions asked. This number of properties is almost twice as big as Aylsham. I think SNUB is right to challenge this and to use whatever tools are appropriate.

What is more depressing is that it is no longer an eco-community. The builders cannot construct houses to the required standard and then sell them at affordable prices. The Council’s proposed solution; lower the standard. Thus it will just be another development on a precious piece of Greenfield land with a unique marketing slant justifying other unwanted intrusions.

It will still be an excuse to build a huge power station in the middle of these villages which the developers think is OK because it is described as a biomass plant. What they do not quantify is the visual intrusion, level of pollution and source of the fuel.

Today’s EDP , reports that a decision is imminent on the multi million pound bid for the controversial eco-town. This £28.5m includes £5.1m for bus services routes and £1.3m for an eco-community education centre. The report does not however mention housing density but you here is a clue: 50% of the site will be green space but only if you include gardens. In spite of previous assurances, the affordable housing stock will only be 30%, the minimum they are allowed. They also expect that by charging and restricting parking, 50% of all journeys will be by public transport. Presumably, big brother will be there to monitor it.

Remember that this eco-community is only one facet of the wider plan by Broadland for this area and I pose the question, who will speak for the residents.

1 comment:

  1. In his reply the Chairman of Broadland District Council made no comments on the accusations above, instead accused SNUB of wanting no development. He knows this is untrue. The scale and concentration of the development is totally wrong. Moreover he claims 3700 people require houses but he can't justify these figures.

    Anyway if the Eco plan is only for 5000 dwellings and by the developers admission they will go for the minimum affordable houses ie. 1500 where will the other 2200 come from.