This Exemplar 'Thing'

Broadland District Council's draft Rackheath Exemplar Brief is a lengthy document (42 pages) but written in an much more understandable way than anything produced by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (although it is interesting to note that neither organisation is a member of the Plain English Campaign - perhaps they should consider membership!). Is the difference that this paper is intended for councillors whereas anything intended for the general public has to be written in anything but plain English?

The brief is full of interesting points which deserve fuller discussion but time is not on our side as Broadland District Council seem to keep these sort of papers away from the public eye for as long as possible in order to give us less time to comment!  We will confine ourselves to just a few comments today although there are plenty more to be made.

As mentioned before the brief sets the scene by saying that the Exemplar is NOT part of the eco-town but it seems BDC are proposing to use the money set aside for that project. If you remember the Exemplar was part of the original eco-town proposals which in turn was part of the 'growth initiative'. Now, however, this Exemplar is intended to "set the model for new development across the whole of Broadland and indeed, the country as a whole". Once again we see the council's aspirations coming to the fore. They also mention in the document that the Exemplar housing should be outward facing to "announce the fact that the scheme is intended to set an example for the rest of the world"

Come on BDC you say yourselves that only 10% will be built to full level 6 (Code for Sustainable Homes) and the rest will only be to level 4 (with energy and water meeting level 6) - hardly an example to the rest of the world!!

It is also interesting to note that part of this site is Grade 2 agricultural land which is defined as 'best and most versatile agricultural land (who remembers Mr Kirby telling us that farmland for the site of the proposed eco-town was all low grade and that we import 80% of our food so it didn't matter that they proposed to build all over it?). The Exemplar is hardly a good example to the rest of the world if it advocates building on prime agricultural land.


  1. "set an example for the rest of the world"

    Has megalomania set in.

    The rest of the world has done this already. Especially in Northern Europe.

    It is obviously only intended to inflate the ego of some simple Norfolk councillors.

  2. isn't it time we did something like this in England, rather than letting other countries show us the way, or are we really just going to keep building boring housing estates that do little to safeguard the environment

  3. Robin
    It is time we did something like this in England - but to claim we are setting an example to the world....!

    In any case Robin Something like what?
    Build a Barratt estate in the countryside with a few Code 6 dwellings to 'safeguard the environment?”.
    Destroy a woodland plantation to build houses.
    It has all to be appropriate in scale and location. Look where eco-towns have been built in Europe.

    You haven't got it at all have you.

    This is what Grant Shapps told Broadland
    "To ensure that there is real local leadership and engagement, Government needs to step back - to support, not direct and to enable, not specify, I do want to support communities in their wish to adopt higher standards of sustainability and design and to enable them to decide what additional standards are appropriate, but I also want to see eco-development and zero carbon homes at all levels - the home, the street, the village and across the country not just in a small number of selected eco-towns".

    How can we trust Broadland? the creators of the most recent Rackheath Development and the colloquially named Dustbindale. They have engaged an expert panel but the economics are as important as the design and builders do not want to build houses people will not buy.
    Only when the building regulations are changed and you can no longer build inferior little boxes will the discrepancy be removed. Then they can be built anywhere and not just in eco-cons.

  4. Has BDC gone literally insane? Setting an example for the rest of the world?

    What, exactly, are they proposing to build?

    There are more questions than answers!

  5. BDC are blinkered and have invested so much or our money into the growth plans they cannot back down even when it is the right thing to do. NCC have wasted £10m on the NDR with not an inch laid and looking less and less likely with the spending review in October. What a difference a year makes with the NDR getting funding in Dec 2009. Lets hope it is AXED then along with it the rest of the concrete planned for North East Norwich!

  6. Heracles, I don't like Dussendale either but lots of people do as they chose to live there. The idea of an exemplar is to build something different, isn't that what this 200 house schem is all about. If we don't want it to be like other estates then surely it is better that we get invoived in helping to design it, and not just criticise from the sidelines claiming that it won't be any different from whats gone before. If we let that happen then we only have ourselves to blame.

  7. Robin
    I guess you were not at the meeting which Broadland District Council held on Wednesday. I think your eyes might have been opened.