Tonight the constituent councils of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership - Broadland District Council, South Norfolk District Council and Norwich City Council - will vote on whether or not to accept the Joint Core Strategy.
We urge each and every councillor to think carefully about the implications that this level of growth will have on Norfolk itself and the lives of Norfolk people. There has never been support for these proposals and the views of local people have been steadfastly ignored. The proposed massive growth has come from the aspirations of a handful of councillors, officers, land owners and developers who leapt upon the previous government's growth projections with ungainly zeal..
In a recent letter to local MPs James Frost, Director of CPRE Norfolk, said: "I would like to suggest to you again that the majority of local people were not in favour of the growth proposed. For example, in the North East of Norwich alone, 3000 people signed a petition objecting to the Strategy (this petition was accepted as evidence by Government Inspector at the Strategy’s recent Examination-in-Public - document RF58). Consultation evidence conducted by the GNDP themselves also points to the fact that local people and local organisations could not support the growth plans for Norwich. For example (of which there were many such ‘negative’ results to choose from):
Do you support the favoured option for development in the Norwich Policy Area? (Regulation 25 consultation, March 2009)
Yes: 30% No 42% Comment 28%
In the comments, the number one concern was ‘scale of growth/excessive growth’
Could your organisation commit to support the favoured option? (Regulation 25 consultation, March 2009)
Yes: 26% No: 30% Comment: 44%
In the comments, the number one concern was ‘scale of growth’.
No parish councils in the Norwich Policy Area gave support to the Strategy but objections included those councils at Hethersett, Long Stratton, Colney, Cringleford and Drayton. Now I can only go on the evidence that has been collected from local people, both by the GNDP and from independent sources, and can
only conclude that the plans did not have the backing of the local community. Yet the Strategy did not change in any fundamental way after the public consultations through to its recent adoption."
We will continue to work with CPRE, NNTAG and other campaign groups to stop the proposed level of growth. Meanwhile, the timing of tonight's meeting before the May local elections might just about ensure that the JCS is accepted by the councils, however, there is hope that after May the shape of these councils will have changed and sense will prevail.