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.