Join the debate

Many of the posts of this Blog result in a lively exchange of comments and today we have picked up on one important issue which readers might otherwise have missed. A visitor to the site who claims to reside in Salhouse recently commented:

          "Fascinating blog - it gets more like some of the conspiracy theories which you would normally expect from Daily Mail readers pontificating on whatever or whoever that paper's chosen as its latest target. Not a compliment in case you are Daily Mail readers!

As someone new to this blog I get the feeling that some of you are losing the plot and that doesn't make membership of SNUB seem at all attractive. Too much bitching and not enough logical reasoning as to why, as a resident of Salhouse, I should want to have a large housing estate on my doorstep, with no infrastructure to support it, instead of an ecotown with full facilities in Rackheath.

When you can explain why then you might win me over - until then, hasta la vista baby!"

They went on: "Because I reckon if smaller villages knew they would be getting large housing estates with no infrastructure backup then they wouldn't be so keen to knock the eco town. Perhaps you could just tell me how many houses SNUB would expect Salhouse to accommodate if your Dispersal option wins the day?"

Stephen Heard, Chair of Stop Norwich Urbanisation responds
       "Anonymous misses the point all together and these are the reasons why.

First we have always maintained that we need more houses but not the target level that was dictated to us by the last government which thankfully have now been scrapped.

Secondly we have always maintained that the level of new houses needs to be reviewed taking into consideration the present economic situation, the need to manage down the overall carbon footprint, the lack of the NDR and other key infrastructure projects, the provision of new brownfield sites (and more coming on stream all the time), the use of empty housing and commercial buildings with the latter ripe for conversion, the reallocation of affordable housing on a needs basis rather than a want basis (downsizing for single occupancies from 3 bedroom houses for example and the completion of the thousands of approved houses in the planning system all ready. We firmly believe that this will reduce the number of new houses needed considerably.

Once this number is known we would then disperse these across the whole region and county and not just in the North East of Norwich. We would expect these to go to areas of existing employment rather than areas where there is no existing employment and to existing communities who are dying on their feet due to the lack of inward investment. We know of communities who want more housing but are not allowed as they fall outside of the JCS geographic footprint. This would allow families to remain in the community were they were brought up rather than being forced to move to a soulless new concrete community like White Woman Lane, Dussindale, Thorpe Marriott etc.

Finally we would not presume to tell Salhouse how many houses it would need as we are not dictators like BDC. Instead we would relay on the Parish Plan predictions and not see all the hard work and endeavour that went into the plan go to waste.

I think this answers the points raised by Anonymous but I would be happy to debate further should they wish to identify themselves. I am somewhat saddened that the residents of the conservation area of Salhouse have no regard for the third of Salhouse residents who do not live in the conservation area and are faced with thousands of houses on their doorstep which will leave a blight on the whole area including the protected parts of Salhouse."


  1. Perhaps the residents of the conservation area would do well to consider the fate of all local communities where this kind of JNC 'bolt-on new town' strategy has been implemented. Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool, Manchester, London - to name just a few - have all adopted this approach. What they now have are large areas of deprivation, high crime and unemployment. A burden on the taxpayer and exactly the conditions where affluent homes become a major target.

    The development of the former garage site on Mill Road will result in 20 plus homes. It's literally in my backyard and while I don't like the traffic implications, the village can assimilate a population increase at that level without a radical character makeover.

    The JNC proposal requires us to accept a radical change which - for the vast majority of Salhouse residents - has no upside at all. Apathy will be no help when the increase in traffic means going to the doctors, the high school, the shops or even the petrol station in Wroxham/Hoveton becomes a major expedition.

    Even Milton Keynes is still waiting for a proper connection to the M1 - 3 miles away. Doing anything with Wroxham Bridge has no chance !

  2. Thank you Stephen for taking the time to give a more measured response to my posts than the first one I received on this site.

    First let me agree with you that we need more houses, and in an ideal world these would be built where they affect nobody. Single people or couples who live in large houses would move to make way for families, divorce wouldn’t split families, kids would be happy to live with parents until they married, immigrants would go somewhere else and nobody would want to retire to Norfolk. Sadly life ain’t like that and it will only get worse once the A11 is completely upgraded, which will enable quicker access for hoards of Londoners to buy up more second homes in North East Norfolk in the manner which they have done in the west side of the county. Something needs to be done to address the present shortfall and unfortunately that means building more houses. Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the principle of preventing urbanisation of Norfolk, I remain unconvinced by your ‘pepper pot’ dispersal solution.

    Communities need to know what they are agreeing to when the Dispersal option is put to them and that means exactly how many houses they will have to absorb. Saying that, with this option, Salhouse would only get what they wanted in the parish plan just doesn’t add up. If you divide the number of homes required (you say 10,000 for Broadland) by the number of dispersed sites (10? 50? 100?), you will need to add a lot of homes to each site – even with 100 dispersed sites, that would average 100 homes per site. Can you assure me that sewerage infrastructure will be updated, that extra appointments will be available at the surgery and that our school won’t go back to relying on portakabins and outside loo blocks to cope with the increase in numbers that a new housing estate will bring. Cynic that I am I can see thousands of houses dispersed over the JCS area without any schools, medical facilities, transport improvements to prop them up and I doubt very much that other parts of Norfolk (if that’s what you mean by region) will offer to take some of the hit for us. There is also no guarantee that scattered housing developments will be eco friendly.

    You mention the Conservation area as if it’s a ‘them and us’ situation, I do not separate that part of the village from the rest. You don’t have to live only in the Conservation area to be concerned about the likes of schools and sewerage and we will all be affected if housing is built without upgraded infrastructure in place. You say you are ‘somewhat saddened that the residents of the conservation area of Salhouse have no regard for the third of Salhouse residents who do not live in the conservation area’ but why is there nobody from that group (or SNUB) on the Parish Council? Surely if you want an influence you have to get on board, there always seem to be vacancies.

    Last but not least I will carry on being Anonymous as most of your bloggers prefer to do. One thing that comes across when you read your blog is the level of antagonism towards some elected representatives and members of the community who question your ideals. It detracts from your arguments and I have no wish to be treated likewise. These are my opinions and I make no apologies for them, I don’t expect you to agree with them but hope the replies will be constructive and reasoned!

  3. As a Daily Mail reader who checks out “news” before I use it, I can confirm that if it looks like a conspiracy, smells like a conspiracy, etc., it probably IS a conspiracy. Shelter have a statistics site for affordable housing called Local Housing Watch. It gives key figures for each county.

    One column gives an “experts estimate” of the actual housing NEED in each county. Next to that, is the number of homes built during 2010 as a percentage of that need. Next to that, is the rank this gives the county in the national league table.

    South Norfolk is number 1 in the 2010 league, with a need of 121 and having built 259% of that 121. Broadland is number 7 in the league (of about 350 councils), with a need of 98 and having built 112% of 98. Norwich City is number 23, with a need of 624 and having built 66% of 624. So between them, the 3 councils involved in the JCS/GNDP have built far more housing than is actually needed at present. I would add that Shelter are likely to exaggerate the need if anything, being a campaigning organisation, though I have no reason to doubt their “experts estimate”.

    This is not surprising as at the moment deaths greatly outnumber births all over Norfolk (except Norwich, see next para). Councils and governments hate this natural correction, because like any Vendor (or Dealer) they like to acquire as many customers as possible.

    ALL of the housing proposed for the Greater Norwich area is to help house nearly a quarter of a million incomers expected in Norfolk by 2030, half of whom will come from abroad and half from the rest of the UK. Norwich itself already has a slight population increase due to in-migration from overseas, and this will increase and the rest of Norfolk will follow suit.

    New jobs may be created for these new people. Forget about the existing jobless figures, local unemployed are worthless in the Council’s eyes. The GNDP reps muttered in answer to a question at the Planning Inquiry that any new jobs would be mainly in “financial services”. New roads may or may not be built – either way, the traffic will expand to fill and overfill existing road space, it always does. Answer? Build more roads of course, and wait for them to overflow too. Etc.

    These new houses, tacky as they are, always cost far more than small terrace houses in Norwich which might need a bit of doing up but are far better quality than the new rubbish and might even have a GARDEN! What keeps their price high? Not the market – old houses go for £90,000 or less. The price is high because a whole bevy of people on very high salaries need to make money out of new development construction. Look in the property pages of the EDP – a new house built of MDF with brick cladding, miles from shops and schools, will start at £140,000, and a charming small house in a real neighbourhood with decent size rooms and proper construction will actually cost less, often a lot less. It is still unaffordable to many local people of course, but the new ones are even less affordable especially under the lures of "pay the rest later" (= lifetime of debt) schemes. WHAT IS GOING ON?

    The fact is, our Councillors and the layers of government above them are law breakers. They break Natural Law and Conservation Statutes all the time. They break the economic laws of Diminishing Returns, and of Supply and Demand. Someone should prosecute them, but this is unlikely to happen. Reasoning doesn’t work – this is the time for the Awkward Squad to be invited onto Parish Councils, awkward they may be but they don’t pitch up uninvited.

  4. Salhouse Resident28 April 2011 at 09:03

    Anonymous got it all wrong and obviously does not understand why South Norfol wisely went for the Dispersal Option, as they listen to their electorate and wish to save their villages and the quality of life. The Developers Charter favoured by Broadland will produce a huge high density housing estate which will destroy Rackheath as well as valuable farmnland.

  5. Stephen Heard got it exactly right in his reply to anonymous. The NE Triangle is just not suitable for massive high density housing estates, but they make MORE PROFIT for the Developer. All the new jobs arer coming in the SW of Norwich, surely this is where the housing is needed.

  6. Why do you say all the jobs are coming in the SW? There are already thousands of jobs at Broadland Business Park, the Airport, and Rackheath - and many more are planned. And the Salhouse Road area looks quite successful as well. I dont think we should be trying to talk down the economic prospects of our area. We should be getting behind our local employment areas and supporting them.

  7. It is good to have this level of debate as this is exactly what should be happening on this Blog ie informative and open debate.

    Just to clarify a couple of points. In Anonymous posting on the 27th April at 0837 the following comment is made "(you say 10,000 for Broadland" in reference to my original Blog. I or any member of SNUB have not said this is this number of houses for Broadland. What we do say is that the number of houses required across the East of England needs to be rethought for all of the reasons I gave. We suspect that the number will be greatly reduced. It is this at present unknown number of houses that would need to be dispersed into areas of proven employment.

    This brings me onto Anonymous latest posting, 28th April 2317, where there is a question of employment and why we say why are all of the jobs coming into the SW. Well we do not say this but the GNDP do in the JCS where they have highlighted all of the employment growth opportunities in and around the south and south west parts of Norwich. Indeed this has been confirmed lately by the welcome news of additional investment in the UEA, John Innis Research Park, Lotus Engineering and Hethel Industrial site. These are facts that cannot be doubted; we see no evidence of any large scale employment opportunities in the North East of Norwich thus we are faced with mass transportation of employees from the North West to the proven and existing employment spots in the South West. We also believe that once the A11 is completely dualled there will be what the planners call "ribbon development" along both sides of the A11 once again reinforcing the necessity to provide housing adjacent to this major trunk road.

  8. Edward Poynter1 May 2011 at 10:40

    Stewart Lindsay on the 'Rackheath appoint.......' page makes some excellent and long overdue points about the 'open' debates and in particular that about 'divide and conquer'. Unfortunately, the Chairman of SNUB is guilty of that on the ' Rackheath appoint.....' and 'Join the Debate' pages when he stated:-
    "I am somewhat saddened that the residents of the conservation area of Salhouse have no regard for the third of Salhouse residents who do not live in the conservation area and are faced with thousands of houses on their doorstep which will leave a blight on the whole area including the protected parts of Salhouse."
    As someone who does not live in the Salhouse Conservation Area, having searched the blogs high and low I can see no reference that indicates that any blog post, prior to this statement, came from someone in a Conservation Area. Stephen Heard's response was to a resident who queried numbers in the Parish if the JCS was not passed. The issue of Conservation Areas was never raised and anyway, Conservation Areas do not protect any community from development, they simply influence the manner of development and style. However, Stephen Heard deliberately presumed it to be from someone in the Salhouse Conservation Area and used it as an opportunity for a 'targetted' attack on an individual or individuals by SNUB - and not the first by this Group. It is an excellent example of SNUB shooting themselves in the foot and trying to divide communities themselves. Why? What is the point?
    Added to this, I see that another blog post refers to an ANONYMOUS as "she" in response. Does this tell us that SNUB web master/mistress has a way of identifying Anonymous and if so, apart from that being dishonest, perhaps SNUB should now abolish the ability to use that term and all blog posts should carry a proper identification. That way, we could all see not only 'who is getting at who', but also those who have the courage to declare themselves. This would then, in some cases, raise the debate to a level above the banal.
    Until then, I too shall remain semi-anonymous as I, like others, have no wish to be subject to a personal attack for expressing my views openly in a Democratic society.

  9. We would like to point out that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that the SNUB Blog editor can identify anyone who chooses to make a comment on the various Blog postings.

    It is normal practice on the 'Blogospere' to allow people who comment on Blog postings to remain anonymous or to choose a pseudonym if they prefer and we will continue to follow this practice on this Blog.

    As we have said, we have no way of knowing who writes a comment and would also like to point out that some of the views made by visitors are not necessarily those of SNUB itself but in the interests of free speech we allow them to remain (in the same way the BBC and the EDP publish all comments that are not offensive). We feel that this encourages further debate and we shall continue in this manner.

  10. In my 'Anonymous' blog of 27 April at 0831, I refered to the following quote, taken from the opening paragraph of the Home Page of the SNUB website - 'Norwich is to change beyond all recognition in the next 20 years, with more than 10, 000 homes planned for the Broadland area alone. How will these changes affect your community?'

    I assumed that as this was your opening paragraph, then this was the number of homes we should expect to see in Broadland.

    If this is not the case, was this a case of scaremongering?

    What is the expected number of homes in the Broadland area?

  11. Having been reading this blog for sometime and becoming a little concerned about some of the "facts" I have gone back to the indepenent Inspectors report. In relation to the number of houses proposed they concluded that:
    "The authorities have seized the initiative, risen to the challenges presented by the demographic forecasts for the area, and made a proactive response which recognises the scale of the issues. The JCS sets out a sound long-term strategy for this growth and the GNDP position on this issue is worthy of support."

    In relation to what is proposed for the Rackheath area they say:
    "Moreover, there are strong reasons to support the selection of this area as a location for a major urban extension. Fundamentally, if development is to take place at the overall scale proposed by the GNDP constituent authorities (which we have found sound), the pattern of small towns and villages in Broadland offers no realistic alternative ‘dispersal’ options capable of accommodating such numbers in ways likely to be sustainable and capable of respecting the characters of the host settlements. There is no evidence that Norwich could accommodate more than already reflected in the JCS account of existing commitments, and it appears (from our consideration of the South Norfolk options) that redistribution from the north of the NPA to south is not a viable option. Concentrating the proposed development at this major growth location is the most effective way of maximising its contribution to the NPA’s sustainability and providing infrastructure economically."

    Seems open and shut to me. The NIMBY attitude of: put the growth in SOuth Norfolk, or if it must come to Broadland then spread it around, has been absolutely rejected by people who have no axe to grind.

  12. Number of houses on Broadland 12,000
    It is on page 54 of the JCS

  13. Either the 'demographic forecasts' for this area are accepted and the funds for all of the tasks required to create sustainable growth are made available. The infrastructure - the roads, schools, shops, power and water supplies, recreational and medical facilities and meaningful, long-term job creation - all are part of what needs to be planned and funded.

    And then they need to be implemented in a way which does not completely destroy what currently exists - and that needs to be funded also.


    Because funding is tight, the 'demographic forecasts' are used as a motivation to implement the more 'profitable' requirements - like housing. Which is like building the shell of an ocean liner without the funds to install an engine or any of the other parts which would actually make it work.


    The 'demographic forecasts' are not accepted as inevitable gospel but as guesses to a possible future which could occur if current trends continue.

    Norfolk has a very long history of independent thought and action. For some, that is one of it's greatest attractions. That attribute will be fully tested if it becomes apparent - after the election - that deals have been done.

    I'm a NIMBY and proud of it. What I don't want in my backyard is a bastardisation of democracy which serves entrenched interests at the expense of the people who live here.

  14. What is Anonymous of 2nd May at 21:27's problem? He/she seems to question whether 10000 houses are intended for the Broadland district, and accuses SNUB of scaremongering for referring to this figure. Yet 10000 houses are intended for the North-East Norwich Growth Triangle alone (7000 initially and up to 10000 thereafter). This is common knowledge and has been clearly stated in all of BDC's and the GNDP's JCS documents - it is no secret and even BDC wouldn't dispute it.

    On top of this 10000 there could well be several more thousand houses throughout the rest of Broadland (eg: over 2000 at the Norwich Golf Club & Hellesdon Hospital sites, if these gain approval). The SNUB estimate is, if anything, rather conservative.

    For SNUB to claim that house-building on such a scale will transform the whole area in an around which it is located is equally uncontroversial (or should be). The direct impact will be enormous, ie: virtually every field between Old Catton, Sprowston and Thorpe to the west, and beyond Rackheath / Salhouse in the east turned into housing estates, retail parks, industrial estates etc - and the possibility that some very important areas of woodland and other wildlife habitats will be lost within the Growth Triangle area too.

    The knock-on effects to Norwich and the countryside, towns and small settlements within several miles of the Growth Triangle will also be huge, eg: massive increases in already dense road traffic, increased pressure on all public services and facilities, and a general suburbanisation of the whole area.

    This is absolutely predictable, and one would have to be wilfully blind not to see it. Having said that, I believe that there are still very many people living in and around the affected areas who remain blissfully ignorant of what is proposed by 'their' council. Incredibly, there are quite a few people about who naively believe that the council knows best and wouldn't do anything really bad!

    SNUB, CPRE & co are doing a valiant job in trying to raise awareness of the facts. Stop knocking them please.

  15. Just a small point! What you seem to 'miss' regarding the number crunching is; that the proposed 'Eco-Town',Eco-Community' (or whatever BDC's PR company tend to call it 'today'), housing projections, are that the Rackheath developement ALONE was proposed to be 5,000 houses , which you had to ppropose as a minimum to get a labour govt. 'eco-grant' ( POD money)! but most importantly the housing figure is RISING up to 10/12000 houses by 2026!....oh! and don't forget the 'Norfolk 'HUB' conference/ hotels, golf courses exhibition halls ( bigger than the Birmingham complex ) and it's ancilliary housing proposed by the then BDC pPortfolio Holder,not to mention ALL the lands ( including other peoples land which BDC allowed YOU to put forward for developemment without the 'owners permission' under numerous Developement Plan Documents ( for thousands of further houses in the North east triangle)ARE YOU STARTING TO GET A LITTLE BIT OF THE BIGGER PICTURE....ARE YOU STARTING VAGUELY TO UNDERSTAND WHY SO MANY LOCAL PEOPLE DISTRUST CERTAIN BDC OFFICERS AND CERTAIN BDC COUNCILORS?...IF YOU DON'T...WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE THE FACTS TO THE 'BIG-BOYS'?

  16. And then theres the incinerator, the wind turbies, the prison and to cap it all the gypsy and traveller site!