Neighbourhoods in charge of their own destiny?

Back in late 2008 Building Partnerships the developer of the proposed Rackheath eco-town held exhibitions to showcase their plans. Feedback was collected from those attending and a report is available on the developer's website.

More than 200 responses are shown in this report and over two thirds are opposed to the plans with comments such as " I am against the whole idea, we live in the country. Had I had wanted to live in a town I would not have moved here in the first place" appearing regularly. The more cynical said " the community does not matter if there is money to be made".

Building Partnerships say "Above all, our objective is to to ensure a robust, rigorous and honest consultation". Local residents, however, know that Building Partnerships and Broadland District Council carry out consultations as a box ticking exercise but they never listen. They have known from the outset that the overwhelming majority of residents do not want their lives ruined by large scale development which will transform local villages and turn the area into another part of the insidious Norwich urban sprawl. Yet they carry on regardless...

Will the government's promise of giving power to the man and woman on the street ever be realized here? David Cameron said he wanted community empowerment - "communities with oomph", "neighbourhoods in charge of their own destiny". We're still fighting but is anyone out there listening?

Perhaps the cynic who wrote "the community dos not matter if there is money to be made" was right after all - there is a lot of money to be made here. That is why so many developers are keen to build on huge swathes of the countryside - it's all about profit margins.


  1. Yes Cram in as many Homes as possible to make as much profit as possible.
    Just look at the Estates from the 50s
    Large gardens, large front gardens. In some cases so large many get planning permission to build another house on them !!
    Its a shame how everything is shoe horned into spaces.

  2. The crazy thing is that South Norfolk is the best provider of AH "affordable housing" in the whole of England, at no.1 on Shelter's Local Housing Watch list. Broadland is excellent, at no.7. Norwich City is not bad at all, at no.23. (Great Yarmouth is bad at 251, North Norfolk even worse at 281, the national table goes down to 323.)

    As the JCS says, these housing units in and around Norwich are planned for some future prophesied need. Not an actual existing need. At the moment, there is no-one to purchase or rent them, even at "affordable" prices. Shelter's website also provides, for each council on the list, the average house price and the average income. Oh dear. Even lowering the average house price to an "affordable" price (for a pile of garbage squashed up against 40 other piles of garbage), gives massive shortfalls even if someone is mad enough to lend 5 times the buyer's annual income. So, where are the buyers going to come from? Not from the local area, that's for sure.

    Developers must be pretty certain that large numbers are definitely going to arrive and have enough money for a mortgage or for the rent. I think another London overspill contract must be out there, in writing invisible to everyone except councils and developers. It is convenient that the new cap on housing benefit makes London unaffordable for tenants but does not make Norfolk unaffordable. All this points to a deliberate plan to shunt large numbers of jobless people out here for some country air.