North Norfolk District Council is currently drawing up plans for a new Local Plan. It will set out the council’s ambitions for home building across the District for the next 20 years. And, critically, where those houses will be built.
I attended a public meeting in Trunch recently where people discussed the plans. People were open minded about the need for new homes but they were concerned about plans to build almost 2,500 houses in North Walsham and the creation of a new planning category that will include Trunch and that would mean the village could see up to 50 houses built there. The overwhelming concern was about the impact on vital services such as health, transport and schools. After the meeting I contacted the NNDC councillor in charge of planning to ask about some of these issues and I’ll report back when I have a reply.
The County Council is a consultee in the process which means it can submit its views on the plan. I asked for the following to be included in the County Council submission:
I echo concerns about the scale of planned growth in North Walsham if it was to be done without investment in infrastructure for the town (roads, public transport, health and schools). I also want to repeat the point I made in response to the Market Towns Initiative last year: that we need to respond to the impact on roads between North Walsham and the coast. Highways issues relating to these roads are constantly being brought to my attention by residents and I am concerned that increased population numbers in North Walsham will only increase the pressures on those roads. I’m not suggesting that this is a reason to block housing development in the town, only that we need to take a strategic view of maintenance, road priority, parking and speeding on the roads leading from the town to the coast and that inevitably means investing money in them.
I think there is an exciting opportunity to look at health, care, wellbeing and the environment in the round in relation to any major housing development. It is not an area I currently know much about but I know work is going on in the field and there is an opportunity for NCC to push for a holistic approach that builds-in well-being to development plans as a way of tackling the growing challenges faced in relation to care and long term health treatment.
You can read more about the draft Local Plan and how to have your say on the NNDC website