We are often asked what the alternatives to the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) are.
Our first belief is that the number of planned houses needs re-addressing and we are of the belief, based on evidence from Shelter and CPRE, that the number of houses needed over the next 15 to 20 years is a lot less than what is being called for in the JCS.
Our second belief is that the alternatives to the JCS have not been fully explored and in particular the “dispersal option”. What does this actually mean?
Well, we have seen the Bishop of Norwich call for a similar strategy when it comes to providing new and affordable housing. He has asked that the church play an active role in securing sites in existing communities for affordable houses in order to protect the rural way of life and to keep generations of family’s together rather then forcing them to split up and migrate to large anonymous housing estates as called for by the JCS. That is one view of dispersal that we have been advocating for the last 4 years.
Another view has been expressed by George Freeman the MP for Mid Norfolk who in a lead article in the EDP this week has called for a sensible approach to developing Norfolk under the banner of “Keep Norfolk Norfolk”. In this article he states the following:
This is another view of dispersal that fits entirely with our campaign and the views of over 3,000 people and compliments the Shop Here campaign run by the EDP that calls for the local economy to be supported.
Indeed even Broadland District Council are advocating a dispersal of some of the necessary new houses as follows:
Acle up to 150 homes;
Blofield up to 120 homes;
Brundall up to 150 homes;
Coltishall & Horstead up to 150 homes;
Drayton up to 150 homes;
Hellesdon up to 160 homes on the hospital site and 1,000 homes on the golf course;
Wroxham up to 300 homes.
A total of 2780 homes dispersed around the district using existing infrastructure although it is interesting that the density of houses planned for the hospital and golf site in Hellesdon is nowhere near as high as what is planned for the North East Growth triangle in the JCS. We wonder why?
Another view of dispersal is to place new houses where the new jobs will be located. We have seen the new Local Enterprise Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk call for the following in an Enterprise Zone based on Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft:
“By 2015 we expect to have around 80 businesses in the EZ, of which 60 will be as a result of expansion and 20 inward investors. Longer term we expect the Zone to be home to 150 - 200 businesses, each taking an average plot size of about 0.5ha. We forecast 9,000 new jobs in the EZ by 2025 (1,380 by 2015) and a further 4,500 (690) indirect job.”
Why would the houses to support these new jobs be located miles away with the only way of commuting via the single carriageway Acle Straight or by train from Salhouse into Norwich and then out again to the coastal zone!
Further support has been provided for new jobs in other parts of the county at Hethel Engineering Centre, John Innes Research Centre, N&N Hospital and the UEA to name a few. There is however no evidence at all for the thousands of jobs needed to support the 10,000 new homes planned for the North East Growth Triangle.
So there we have it. Several views of the dispersal option by independent organisations that fully justify the stance that SNUB have been stating for nearly 4 years now.
There are some however who are using the possibility of a dispersal option to scare local residents into thinking that they will have to support lots of new houses in small villages that do not want or need this level of development.Residents of Salhouse for example are being told, without any justification or evidence that we have seen, that if the JCS were not to go ahead they would see 200 new homes built in the village! This is clearly nonsense particularly as the Parish Council has volunteered to be a pathfinder in the new Neighbourhood Plans and the setting up of a Neighbourhood Development Order that the PC will be able to approve. If they believe that they do not need 200 new houses then they simply do not approve the Order and even if they were to approve something that the local residents did not like then they would be able to reject it at the referendum stage.