EDP article chooses to omit key points made by Stephen Heard

The article on page 16 of today's  Eastern Daily Press article omits several important points made by Stephen Heard, Chair of SNUB, which is a shame as, if printed, they might have helped dispel the myth that SNUB is totally against new homes being built in the region.

Below is the text of what was discussed with, and then sent to, the EDP for comparison with the newspaper article (not currently available online) and note the content of the last three paragraphs of this post which did not appear in the final EDP article.

"Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB) the voluntary community group campaigning against the creeping urbanisation of Norwich are appealing for donations to their fighting fund to help them fund the legal challenge against the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) which proposes 37,000 new homes in and around Norwich.

The Chairman of SNUB, Stephen Heard, states, “Any legal challenge is a costly business and although we have taken all necessary precautions to protect our financial position we are facing a David and Goliath situation.  It is ironic that the three local authorities have the budgets to employ expensive Barristers using ratepayers money yet local residents have to dig into their own pockets to fund such a challenge as this.”

To date the fund has received significant contributions from a number of local residents and members of the core of SNUB however Mr Heard is looking for the thousands of people who signed SNUB’s petition last year to back the challenge with a small donation.  “If everyone of our petitioners was to donate at least £10 each we would achieve a level of funding that would take away the worry of fighting the case and for us to combat the Goliath on a level playing field.”

SNUB has always maintained that there is a need for new housing however they believe that the numbers being proposed are illegitimate.  They are therefore seeking the quashing of the current strategy in order for the numbers to be independently verified and for a fully transparent and legal consultation to be completed on all of the various options for providing the new homes over the next 15 years.

“We firmly believe that once the real housing need, as opposed to housing want, is considered and the availability of a increased number of brown field sites, since these high targets were set, along with a realistic appraisal of incoming migration would see an overall reduction in the number of houses needed.

In the meantime there are sufficient approved planning permissions for local development to continue whilst the JCS is re-appraised with no negative impact on the provision of new houses.”


  1. Interesting isn't it that the housing figure which is quoted by SNUB is 37,000 and this is a figure distributed over 3 Councils and yet, do we see any other major anti development campaign groups from Norwich or South Norfolk rising up and joining up with SNUB? Have we seen any public affirmations from residents, en masse, from these 2 other Council areas supporting the stand SNUB are taking against the numbers? The answer seems to be No and that says a lot.

    SNUB states its opposition on the back of some 3000 names, most of whom were probably obtained during the fight against the Norfolk Hub. The Norfolk Hub has never been part of the JCS and therefore it would be interesting to know how many of those people who signed up would continue to do so now particularly if they live in villages which might attract larger numbers of houses because of SNUB's actions.

    SNUB has taken this action using those 3000 as their support base, not a 'massive' figure given the total population of the GNDP area (372,500) which could now be significantly affected by the writ and its consequences. SNUB supporters (EDP Letters Wed 1 Jun) state they are happy to pay a rise in Council tax for the legal costs; nice for those who can afford it, own their own house in a pleasant area and feel free to impose on others less fortunate. The fact is that SNUB also openly refers to protecting 'our part of Broadland'. When will those residents in Norwich and South Norfolk, as well as in other parts of Broadland, wake up to the fact that SNUB are simply seeking to dump their allocation onto them? Amazing what potential havoc a small vocal group can cause over an area which covers nearly a third of Norfolk, simply to protect their own back yard.

    Now they are asking for donations. Nowhere is their financial strategy transparent. Who are SNUB, only the 'Chairman's' name appears, the so called invisible 'core group' members choose not to reveal themselves on their web site? Is there a Treasurer and how will the money be spent and would we ever get to see a balance sheet? Until there are answers to all these questions my wallet remains firmly shut.

  2. The costs of the legal fight will be insignificant compared to the cost of redoing the Core Strategy. The last one took 4 years apparently. And look at the GNDP website for all the studies that will have to be redone (the evidence that SNUB reject).

    then of course there is the costs of fighting the planning appeals that would result if the JCS is quoshed

    then there is the "cost" of the missed investment that wont come here because of all the uncertainty that will continue for years.

  3. edith crowther2 June 2011 at 19:39

    The thing is, if you read the Claim issued on 3rd May 2011 against all three councils involved in the GNDP and its JCS, all three councils are alleged to have broken international law, transposed into UK law via EU Directives. If the UK had not been in the EU, it would have had to transpose the international law directly as it has signed the UN Conventions in question (I think the USA is the only country which has not).

    So SNUB is not being a NIMBY – the law wouldn’t allow this, although it is true that certain areas might be more environmentally sensitive than others, but that is for the court to decide. The law is actually a NIABY – Not In ANYONE’s Backyard, unless you can prove it won’t harm the “Living World” which we all depend on for our survival.

    I will not explain how these Directives relate to Greater Norwich in case the matter is already sub judice, but the Judgment the whole of England is talking about was won by a group called Save Historic Newmarket and that Judgment explains very clearly how ALL Councils are to obey the law on the environment before embarking on even quite small projects. The law also applies to private developers, when they are acting in tandem with public authorities (which they usually are these days).

    The Judge in the Newmarket case spelt out the law at some length, quoting great chunks of it - presumably he knows that a lot of Councils and Developers are blissfully unaware of the law. The EU is very concerned that no-one is obeying the law, because our future as a species now depends on a total change of behaviour with regard to the environment. It has therefore issued a further Directive, in 2008, making it a criminal offence to ignore certain Directives on the Environment like the famous Habitats Directive. There is also an organisation called IMPEL, devoted to trying to make nations obey environmental law – and there is even a group of judges from all nations trying to make professionals more aware of how easy it is to break the law when development projects trample on the natural world (as they always do, to a greater or lesser extent). Some of the Judges are British, because Britain – although a lot better than many countries – is still failing to grasp what is required by law.

    A good example is Wind Farms. Wind energy ought not to be a major industry, because then it would no longer be good for the environment. Yet it has not taken very long at all, for major global companies to jump on the “Green” bandwagon and start littering huge turbines all over the world whilst making vast profits. The truly Green path would simply cut energy use by half – but there is no profit in this. We are now using more energy than ever, new power lines have to be constructed as well as vast Wind Farms and whole new substations. It is all the opposite of “Green” (someone told me this was “Orange” but I think this was joke).

    The EU will prosecute the UK Government if its Councils ignore the need for a full SEA for projects which require one (Strategic Environmental Assessment). So far as I can see, no part of the GNDP’s JCS has had a full and proper SEA so the whole thing was illegal from the start, those in charge are lawbreakers, and if any Habitats marked green on the Natura 2000 map of Norfolk are affected by building, they are criminal lawbreakers. So they should stop being so smug. They should certainly stop treating protesters as Criminals when they are only trying to uphold (unknowingly) the very laws being broken (unknowingly?) by so many highly paid and highly educated “professionals”.

  4. So why are none of the guardians of the environment, either official or pressure groups, party to the legal challenge or mounting their own?

  5. Presumably because they can see the flaws in the challenge and are not prepared to risk their reputation and money? It suits them to stand on the sidelines and, if possible step back should SNUB lose or step forward to share the glory should SNUB win.

  6. edith crowther2 June 2011 at 22:25

    Good question Anon 20:04 and I can only guess why. First of all, many guardians of the environment are naturalists, not lawyers. If planners don't know how far planning law has incorporated stringent environmental orders from the United Nations, how would naturalists know?

    Secondly, genuine environmentalists are bullied, mocked, belittled and gagged in all walks of life. Ask Prince Charles! Ask Tim Nicholson, who was employed by property development firm Grainger as Head of Sustainability, but took his job too seriously for the firm's liking. If he tried to actually implement real "Green" measures, he was blocked. He was made fun of. In the end he was sacked for no reason, by being made redundant. He had become a nuisance. He said in court that while the firm had good written policies on the environment it had refused to abide by them, and claimed that when he tried to encourage the company to become more responsible, he was obstructed by his bosses and sometimes treated with contempt.

    Although he won at the Employment Tribunal, it was a bit of a hollow victory because he won on the grounds that environmentalism is a "belief" like a religion and must not be discriminated against. No mention of the massive UN, EU and UK laws meaning that Grainger might well have infringed certain laws in some of its projects.

    So even as late as 2009, everyone still thought that environmentalism is some sort of philosophical belief, albeit a respected one. The only people who know it is concrete reality, are naturalists, and people who observe the changes to wildlife in their local area. This is why the UN is so insistent that countries have vast monitoring projects, and that they rely on the knowledge of local and indigenous people as well as on scientific surveys which can be costly. The natural world is dying before our eyes, but we still think it is some sort of bad dream. If official pressure groups get too leery, they get sat on - so they are cautious. Who can blame them?

  7. How does Edith Crowther square her obvious support for "EU directives" being forced into UK law, when she's a BNP election candidate?

    And how does the support of the "local" (Kings Lynn resident) BNP representative tie in with Stephen Heard's comment
    “... a realistic appraisal of incoming migration would see an overall reduction in the number of houses needed."

    "Incoming migration" eh?

  8. Bill Fortbes' comment mader me laugh to be honest. Trying to foist 'our allocation' off on others? No matey, those of us unfortunate enough to live in the 'Growth Triangle' are mightily sick to see councillors for South Norfolk foist THEIR allocation on to us. Just take a look at where all these houes are to be built. Not near any of their constituent's houses, that's for sure. The way this entire strategy has been carried through is undemocratic. Those repsonsible should be ashamed. Our councils need to stop rushing to do central government's bidding and listen to their own residents