There has been a public meeting (see EDP article) to discuss the plans for development at the former RAF airfield at Watton that has some parallels with the argument for developing the old wartime RAF airfield at Rackheath, which stands at the heart of the large scale development planned for the North East growth triangle of Norwich as promoted by the GNDP.

Lets have a look at these:

Ex RAF Airfield deemed surplus to requirements in 2010
Ex RAF Airfield deemed surplus to requirements in 1964
Not currently being used for agricultural purposes.
Has been an agricultural site for hundreds of years except when requisitioned as an Airfield for a number of years during WWII.
Protest meeting chaired by local MP George Freeman.
Protest meeting never chaired by local MP Keith Simpson.
Classified as a Greenfield site by Breckland planning officer
Classified as a Brownfield site by Broadland planning officer.
Unlikely to be approved for housing by Breckland’s planning committee.
Being actively promoted for housing by Broadland’s planning committee.
Airfield not allocated within the Districts Local Development Framework
Airfield allocated to the Districts Local Development Framework.
Local MP pledges to help the community generate its own growth plans as part of the localism agenda.
Local MP totally ignores the local communities wishes for a dispersal option.
Local MP pledges to be local communities “staunchest defender in making sure they get the growth they want.
Local MP ignores letters and emails from local community as he builds his career as a Parliamentary Private Secretary as a precursor to securing a seat in the upper chamber.
Local community question the social engineering of local hosing associations attracting inward migration from other parts of the county rather than satisfying the needs of local residents and their families.
Local council actively attracting inward migration from other parts of the county and country as they want to use the additional income from the Community Investment Levy and additional Council Tax to replenish the council’s empty financial reserves.
Local councillor actively encouraging local farmers to exercise their option to return the land to productive agricultural use.
Local council ignoring the need to secure the UK’s food chain and planning to remove hectares of current producing land from the supply chain.
Local councillor knows that 750 of the 1000 homes needed for Watton between 2001 and 2026 had already been built or received planning permission.
Local council have no idea about what the need is for the North East growth triangle communities and what the shortfall will be for the local residents.  If they do it is opaque and not shared in a understandable format.

You would not believe that these two Councils are in the same county and have a MP from the same political party!


  1. I saw the article about Watton and cut it out - but failed to spot the differences between Watton and Rackheath. They really are glaring, now that you have set them out.

    Well done, well done, well done.

    Neither Council is actually obeying the law on Enviromental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) - but one is at least facing in the right direction.

    By the way, Judge Collins in Save Historic Newmarket refers to a 2001 case which went to the House of Lords, called Berkeley v Secretary of State for the Environment. This case is an even more powerful explanation of how Planners can and do break major environmental laws - before 2004 as well. The explanation given by Lord Hoffman is particularly clear.

    I have found out elsewhere, that quite small projects can require an environmental assessment - it all depends on the circumstances. Even in town centres a primary school nearby can necessitate a heavy duty assessment as if the children were wildlife (which they are, in the sense of being precious and vulnerable).

  2. Andy Radcliff (Rackheath)18 May 2011 at 18:07

    How about adding RAF Coltishal into the mix ?
    That would make a great pot of witches stew.