Doing something funny for money is the mantra for Red Nose Day but it could now apply to Broadland District Council who should not just have red noses but red faces over the future funding of their pet project, the Eco Town at Rackheath.

The revelations in the Planning newspapers seen by SNUB members show how inept they are and how much they have conceded to developers in their vainglorious quest for a place in planning history. Now the Government intend to change the Planning Policies and amend the funding priorities for developments, so the huge subsidies their plans relied on are likely not to be forthcoming.

All of that would be bad enough but underpinning it, there is a contract called the Rackheath Joint Venture Agreement, which like the Joint Core strategy itself has been secured behind closed doors. The agreement has a board made up of the landowner, the developer, the promoter, the HCA and the Council. The details of this agreement are not available to the public but in outline

The developer manages the process in consultation with joint venture partners.

Decisions made by the board are binding by simple majority

Joint Venture partners obliged not to unreasonably withhold agreement.( The definition for unreasonable is not described.)

The Council will buy the land for the Exemplar Phase using public money.

The Planning Application has to be consistent with the Exemplar Brief. (and that has already been shown to be at a lower than expected standard)

A grant will be made to the farmer to allow the land to be continued to be farmed until required for development.(by the Council?)

The landowner, developer and Council will share in the profits.

So how do you expect the Planning Committee to be able to impartially judge any applications which come before them.

By the way the Council has agreed all this already.


  1. There is certainly something funny about it, what has it got to do with the Civil Servants in London?
    This is just another lie in the Big Society, if it is still being dictated from the centre, so how does this relate to the Localism agenda.
    I wonder what the District Auditor would make of the idea that the Council can use public money in an agreement under which the Council's wider financial and statutory position is in the hands of commercial business.

  2. How naive are our councillors? The papers on this joint venture said the only financial risk would arise if the project did not go ahead. The money they spent buying the land could be recovered by selling it again.
    What is the difference in price on land with planning permission and a council nod for development and land that nobody wants because the plans are not viable.
    Answers on a postcard to your local councillor!

  3. Overview and Scrutiny?
    Its like asking the MP's to oversee their own expenses

  4. Just a reminder about what the developer, Paul Knowles and his company Building partnerships see as their objectives-

    to maximise PROFIT for landowners and developers as well as generating more Council Tax for Broadland District Council.

    People or Communities do not even deserve a mention and are clearly of no consequence in Mr Knowles quest for money

    This is what it has come to and our councillors support it. Well they are Tories.

  5. Can it really be down to the greed of one man!

    You might do well not to overlook the fact that the land making up the old airfield is now in German ownership. 'Hermann' really can do what the Luftwaffe could not. That might not be just the money either, there is probably an element of spite as well.

  6. How can this wretched Council use GRADE TWO farmland to boost their Developers profits, when Central Government is urging us to grow more food ?

  7. Rackheath Resident3 April 2011 at 15:21

    Never forget that this is the same Council that arranged for the large Police Presence outside the Council Chamber. A total waste of Police time and money and no wonder they left when the situation was explained to them. We are seeing Dictatorship at its worst and this could be only the beginning if we do not stop it in May.

  8. You have been told Norfolk will get 224,000 more people. The 37,000 "homes" is the beginning. This started under a Labour Government, Conservative / Liberal Government does nothing to stop it
    The Green Party demand a cycle lane painted on the concrete that will soon cover Norfolk.