The people's fight

Let's remember what all this is about - this field in Rackheath and the ones around it are earmarked for massive development of homes and businesses.

Public meetings like this one at Rackheath revealed to the Council the level of opposition to those plans. A huge vote of no confidence in Broadland District Council also took place at this meeting,

This map which was used to show the area targeted for development was received with less than enthusiastic appreciation by Broadland's Chief Planner, Phil Kirby. Why? It is merely a representation which enables people to make a judgment of the scale of the proposed development by showing the size of Norwich as it currently is.

This concert is taking place tonight and has been organised by the Bordon Area Action Group to raise money to fight the Whitehill Bordon eco-town over-expansion.

 Whilst these people are fighting to save their village from what they believe to be South Somerset District Council's flawed Core Strategy.

Newmarket residents have won an extraordinary victory against expensive, unelected council officers and multi-millionaire Lord Derby, who together are trying to ride roughshod over local people and threatening thousands of local jobs.

Forest Heath's David Burnip and Nigel McCurdy, who take home more than £215,000 of taxpayers money eve...See more"

 ....and these people WON!!!


  1. What is so special about that field? SNUB want to spread growth around - wont that use similar fields - perhaps even ones that are even better for wildlife or agriculture?

  2. Anonymous has a choice. Do we preserve our villages and vital farmnland or instead go for a massive high density, high developer profit, urban housing estate, with Norwich spreading out to almost Wroxham ? I see that South Norfolk District Council have gone for the dispersal option to protect their villages.

  3. This field is just as important as any other because it will continue to be needed to grow food in order that we can feed ourselves.
    Scientific experts including the goverment's chief scientist Prof. John Beddinton have issued warnings of a future global food shortage that will result from the affects of global warming.
    Our Council are so cavalier by ignoring these warnings because they are driven by the wish to have the increased revenue that thousands of extra house will bring in.
    Likewise the greedy developers are only thinking of profit and as soon as they have covered these fields with high density housing they will want to expand further outwards.
    Would anonymous prefer to go along and trust our Councils and their developer friends who are doing it to make millions, or listen to the Scientists who want to safeguard our future generations?.
    Just remember that Broadland promised "No NDR, No Ecotown* and also they would not go ahead with the ecotown if the majority of people opposed it.
    The NDR is extremely unlikely to go ahead and only 5% actually supported the Exemplar, yet Broadland is ignoring the local people and going ahead regardless breaking both of those promises.
    The developers also promised that there would be no cars in the ecotown and trains would run from Rackheath every 10 minutes. We knew at the time that this was spin and would not happen and they have now conveniently dropped these pledges.
    Does anonynous still feel that Broadland and the devlopers can be trusted?

  4. edith crowther16 May 2011 at 12:45

    Luckily a few people are listening to Prof. Beddington, thanks to people like Anonymous@16:18 passing the info around.

    Farming Today on BBC Radio 4 on 12th May publicised a Bill proposed by Tory MP Laura Sandys (South Thanet). Mrs Sandys told the Commons:- “Grade one agricultural land is important and strategic for all our constituents whether urban or rural. Once highly productive land is built on, there is no going back. It is gone forever."

    She went on:- "We must... regard national food production as part of our national security agenda, and an essential part of this agenda, is ensuring we do not diminish our ability to produce food domestically, so land use is at the heart of this issue."

    The 10-minute rule Bill was passed without a vote, but it stands little chance of making further progress without government support. We should all support Laura and also ask our own MPs to support her. At the moment she is only concerned with Grade I land - but one step at a time.

    Personally, I am going to alert Mrs Sandys to the plight of the bees. Even "derelict" land grows the kind of weeds and wild flowers which bees love. Bees are threatened by a cocktail of modern life like mobile phone masts, biocides, traffic fumes, and many of them are simply starving for lack of pollen to eat as we lose acre after acre of flowers to a combination of factory farming and battery housing. In Norfolk very few farms if any are “factory farms”, but that is not the case in some other counties so I have to mention factory farming as it is definitely a major cause of bee distress and bees do cross county boundaries!

  5. edith crowther16 May 2011 at 12:54

    If anyone wants to watch Mrs Sandys making her speech on video, it is on the Parliament Channel and for once I was able to say awake.

    Don't get too excited - the Bill has got all the usual "escape hatch" clauses like "except where there is real necessity" etc. - but it is better than nothing.

  6. Broadsman offers a choice of where houses could go and then another Anonymous starts talking about food needs and whether we can trust Broadland. It is all very confusing as the argument hops around. I think what counts is the numbers and not location. South Norfolk is used as a good example of what to do but as far as I can see they added them onto their existing large towns which Broadland does not have many of? Can someone explain where the houses would be built if Broadland went for the same sort of plan and how many in each place?

  7. South Norfolk have MORE houses than Broadland so I fail to see how they will be losing less agricultural land. We all live on ex agricultural land - its funny how it only becomes a problem when we are all safely housed! Of course we need to protect the best land but not all land - we also need to live and work somewhere. And I dont see too many bees on the agricultural fields - generally highly productive farmland is appaling habitat for bees.

  8. Anonymous 19:14 should take a look at the figures and note the numbers of second homes and occasionally used holiday homes in Norfolk and then see that we don't really need to build more houses, just use the ones standing.
    I am on the housing register but I don't want a house at the cost of going hungry. There are not thousands of people on the streets without a roof over their heads. Lets get our priorities in the right order. In any case there are plenty of brownfield sites that should be used first such as the old garage site on Mill Road. I suppose we only need to protect the agricultural land if it is in sight of, or near this NIMBY. Just tell me where are all these people going to work?
    I work in agriculture so suggest to 19:14 take a look at oilseed rape fields and you will see lots of bees (not after dark).
    19:14 needs to get the facts right before making such comments.
    The loss of agricultural land to building will put more pressure on farming and cause the need for even higher production.

  9. Snub should be careful not to stray too far off the main subject into agricultural and food production areas. They have excellent arguments against covering thousands of acres of countryside with concrete and tarmac. And it is true that the agricultural land that would be covered has the potential to be used to grow useful food - but very little of it is.

    Edith Crowthr is wrong as usual to imply that Norfolk has fewer 'factory farms' (by which I presume she means intensively managed agri-business arable, not just Bernard Matthews style factory farming?). In fact, Norfolk's arable farming is among the most intensive in the UK, despite what the EDP might try to tell us. And very little food fit for human consumption is grown. Take a look at what's in the fields and ask yourselves whether it can be eaten: oil-seed rape, sugar beet and barley are by far the most popular crops. None of these are useful or efficient as sources of human food, but are used for industrial products, brewing, sugar and processed animal feed.

    I'm totally against the BDC growth plans and I don't want to see a single field lost, but I do think it would help if Snub and some of its supporters would steer clear of making loss of food a key issue.

  10. Even though a field is not growing crops directly for human consumption it may be providing animal food which themselves are eaten by humans. Oil from rape is used in a variety of products from foodstufs to paint. Also crops are grown as biofuel that offsets the need to use fossil fuels. Whilst a field is used for growing such crops it allows other fields to be used for growing food for us humans.
    In the future we shall need to grow more food as well as bio-fuels etc, anything to reduce our reliance on oil and fossil fuels.
    We will not have enough farmland do do these things if we build on it and then we shall be forced into having more nuclear power stations.

  11. The debate about agricultural land is a waste of time. SNUB support dispersed development to provide the level of growth that is necessary (see the front page) - so whatever is deemed necessary is OK - and it will take farm land. I hope SNUB are not going to change their tune and say we shouldnt meet needs for houses and jobs, or that we must introduce some sort of draconian measures to take away people's second homes they have worked hard for!

  12. The argument for dispersal -at the risk of repeating myself - ' South Norfolk is used as a good example of what to do but as far as I can see they added them onto their existing large towns which Broadland does not have many of? Can someone explain where the houses would be built if Broadland went for the same sort of plan and how many in each place?' Does anyone have the answer?

  13. Surely the answer is that the number of houses BDC / GNDP are aiming for is simply far too high? I sincerely hope that snub aren't agreeing to the 37000+ figure but merely saying these should be more widely dispersed - that is not what I imagined snub were about and not why I became a supporter.

    As far as I'm concerned the 37000+ figure is unnecessary, unsustainable and unrealistic. It does not reflect genuine need, but is effectively speculative development, deliberately encouraging large numbers of people to move to where the new houses are - not because they are homeless or on council waiting lists but simply because they like the idea. It is a developers charter, cynically conceived in order to promote 'economic growth' at any cost.

    I hope somebody from snub (mR Heard for example) will clarify snub's position and confirm that snub stands against the total number, and doesn't simply accept it but want it more thinly spread.

  14. Re Blog posted 23:08. Anonymous seems more concerned about those who own second homes having to sell them rather than people not having food, yet if he believes there is a genuine demand for more housing then he must realise it is these second home owners who are in part causing the problem. Obviously second and holiday home owners don't like to hear that, but it is a fact.
    There are currently thousands of houses up for sale in this area at a range of prices, the problem is there are barely enough jobs to go with them.
    Commercial premises on Broadland Business Park stand empty whilst Roche advertise them for immediate occupation. So why aren't the businesses coming in this area in order to provide the jobs and prosperity that BDC have promised? The truth is it is all spin to assist the developers and as someone mentioned before, Councils can't wait to get their hands on all the extra money that would come their way from extra rates.

  15. I have been asked a couple of questions so I need to clarify the position of SNUB.

    They are both aligned to our dispersal strategy which seems to have confused a few people. Our first point is that the allocation of 37,000 house called for in the GNDP does need to be challenged and we have called for an independent audit of what the actual housing NEED is for the area. So yes (Anon 17th May 0055) we are challenging the number and we do not accept that we need this high level of housing particularly when considering where the main employment opportunities are for the county which picks up on the point made by Anon 17th May 0825.

    The second point highlighted by Anon 17th May 0019 is about the dispersal option. SNUB has always maintained that the dispersal option should be looked at across the whole county if not the region. We would then expect a lower number of houses dispersed across the Broadland geographic footprint. Lets not forget that there are already plans for development at Sprowston (Blue Boar) and more in the planning pipeline with Beyond Green and other developers. In addition there are plans for the so called exemplar development at Rackheath plus an extension to the existing housing at Canfor Road. Salhouse has plans for the old petrol station on Mill Road.

    Our dispersal option would see more houses built in places such as Brundall, Blofield, Halvergate, Aylsham, Foulsham, Hevingham, Felthorpe, Drayton, Wroxham, Spixworth, Reepham, Thorpe St Andrew and Reedham. We would expect the Parish Councils in these areas to encourage development according to their own projections in their Parish Plans which would see a strategic approach to the housing needs of their own communities over the next two decades. This would play into the localism agenda and attract new inward investment into these communities which, according to commercial businesses already located there, is sorely needed.

    We also like the alternative put forward by the then Chair of Norfolk Association of Architects (Mr Michael Innes)for the development of Acle which utilises existing infrastructure links and provide a development corridor linking Acle to Norwich in the West and Great Yarmouth in the East.

    As we say there are real alternatives for a smaller number of houses which would provide for our families and incoming migration. Lets have a sensible discussion about these alternatives rather than push forward with thousands of houses in one place that would ruin the countryside, increase the carbon footprint, need millions spent on infrastructure that we do not have, destroy existing communities as investment for these is reduced, remove productive agricultural land out of the food chain for ever and place people in places without any soul, culture or employment.

  16. How does the dispersal option match the infrastructure limitations what were discussed in depth in the examination? It's all very well dispersing the houses, but I imagine the new (and existing) occupants would like a working water and sewage supply (for example). Or are Anglia water also in cahoots with GNDP/Broadland/Developers and making up the water restrictions?

  17. Surely if we are going to look at this number problem across the County then we shall have to challenge all the other District Councils' Core Strategies? Once they are in place there is no further room for negotiation is there? Are we not being over optimistic to think that we can influence the whole of Norfolk? That would involve challenging all the other Core Strategies. Have SNUB started a debate with all the other County district councils yet? If not, I do not see this argument going anywhere?

  18. The Labour Gov did away with county planning and this one is doing away with regional planning. You simply cannot negotiate other areas taking growth away. There is no longer any process.
    Read the govs pronouncements on growth - they want more not less.

  19. Anonymous of 12.35 has hit the nail on the head and 19.16 reinforces the argument. Who is going to mastermind the plan to offload our unwanted housing on the rest of the County or even region and thereby achieve dispersal? By what mechanism are we going to achieve this? I am not sure that one exists and therefore we are going to have to resolve the problem within the GNDP boundaries.

  20. Anonymous of 12.35 has hit the nail on the head and 19.16 has reinforced the argument. Who is going to mastermind the plan to offload our unwanted housing on the rest of the County or even region? By what mechanism are we going to achieve this? I am not sure that one exists and therefore we are going to have to resolve the problem within the GNDP boundaries.

  21. So Snub like Innes's proposals for Acle. Wel I know a bit about Acle! He was proposing a new town at least as big as the Rackheath ecotown. You claim to be concerned about the Broads - Acle is right on the Broads! You claim to be concerned about farmland - well as it is the same size it will take the same amount (and Acle land is very good quality). You are opposed to spending on roads - have you seen the junctions with the A47 - do you honestly think they wouldnt need rebuilding into massive junctions? And then there would be demand to dual the Acle straight! And you couldnt cycle to Norwich or to Broadland Business Park. I dont think you have thought this one through. The only advantage of Acle is that it is not Rackheath.

  22. I have tried to agree with 22.35 and find that my blog is being removed each time. What do you make of that?

  23. It has happened again.
    Is this censorship?

  24. And again.
    Beware Bloggers, if you put up a coherent argument it will be "snubbed" out.

  25. Anonymous of 00.19 is asking about the South Norfolk dispersal plan which has been quoted frequently on this blog site as a good and sensible solution. The South Norfolk dispersal begins in the Policy Area with Hethersett – 1000 houses, Long Stratton 1800, Wymondham 2200, Easton/Costessey 1000 and Cringleford 1200 houses. Presumably along with other issues these numbers are to ensure infrastructure is in place.
    It then continues to Diss and Harleston with 300/200 each, followed by Hingham, Loddon/Chedgrave and Poringland/Framlingham Earl all with 100/200. Many smaller villages then receive less –about 10-20.
    If we managed to get a reduction in the Broadland housing need from the 12,000 to even 8000 and we are using South Norfolk as the good example of dispersal (see other past blogs) then places like Aylsham, Wroxham, Rackheath, Spixworth, and Taverham will still all have to take much larger numbers, probably in excess of 1000 extra homes, to attract infrastructure and to avoid over developing all the medium size settlements. If the latter are overdeveloped then they will bleed at the edges and gradually merge into each other, ruining Broadland even more.
    Acle, Reepham and the Brundall/Blofield/Plumsteads areas might have to increase to at least 500 additional houses to take up the slack.
    Add to this the outstanding balance of the houses which would then need to be built in the other Broadland villages with amenities and which, because this is a long term plan, would possibly be built in small batches and might not attract the infrastructure, then we could effectively blight much more of Broadland.

    Remember that this strategy is over 15years and therefore housing will be drip fed. Historically, drip feeding small housing numbers has resulted in the lack of an integrated infrastructure and amenities system.

    Is this really what we are about or have I got it all wrong?

  26. It's worth pointing out that the map at the top of this page does not highlight the current built-up area of Norwich, but a very much smaller area which might best be described as "old Norwich". Making a comparison between that and the growth triangle (which won't be a continuous built-up area anyway) is complete nonesense as Norwich, as it currently exists, is many, many times bigger than the area shown in green on the map.

  27. Rackheath resident18 May 2011 at 06:46

    I wonder what ACLE has to say about snubs proposals ?
    I think that snub has lost the plot with farmland, even dispersal would be built on farmland it's obvious, any housing at ACLE would be built on farmland, and as said, house would residents commute to their workplace ? Car ? you can see why it took the GNP so long to draw up a plan.
    I wonder if this post will be editors as with others from other residents ?

  28. I have resisted posting any comments on the SNUB blog until now but this thread strikes a cord with some of the issues I faced as your Disctrict Councillor until May 7. I think it may be helpful if I provided an extract from a letter I sent Mr Heard in Nov 2009 when he asked me for comments on the proposed growth in the North East Norwich Growth Triangle. Below is my reply and interestingly, I never did get a reply!

    PS - I will have to post the content of my letter separately as the Blog only allows 4.096 characters in one post!

  29. I'm afraid I have had to give up as despite trying numerous ways to post a copy of my letter to Mr Heard, it gets rejected!!

  30. I wonder why.........................

  31. I feel that others are having the same problem.

  32. Betrayed Wroxham resident19 May 2011 at 00:14

    No-one told me that in order to stop development in the Rackheath area that I might expect 1000+ houses on my doorstep. I changed my voting last election to support a party that promised to oppose the eco town and development at Rackheath. They did not tell me that to do so meant that this might happen. I think I have been ben sold a party line to get the individuals in. Nowhere has it been published that this meant this number of extra houses might be built in Wroxham. What else have I not been told? Have you any idea what this will do the roads in our area? Just try getting through Wroxham on a normal day in summer. Just imagine 1000 extra houses! It is sheer madness. It will ruin this area of the Broads but I suppose if that saves Rackheath, so what.