Final consultation to start on West Norfolk housing blueprint

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Proposals for the allocation of future housing development in West Norfolk represent “the best way forward” for the borough, a senior councillor has claimed.

A six-week public consultation, which is the final chance for residents to have their say on the borough council’s plans for development up to the year 2026, will open on Monday.

But critics say the authority has not considered the infrastructure that will be needed to support their proposals.

Council chiefs say that just under 6,500 new homes will be needed across the borough over the 11 years.

Around two thirds of them, about 4,200 are concentrated in the Lynn area with the largest proportion, 1600, envisaged for the West Winch and North Runcton area and 1450 within Lynn itself.

A further 600 are proposed for the Knights Hill area, plus 300 in South Wootton and 249 in West Lynn.

Elsewhere, 550 homes are envisaged for areas on the edge of Wisbech that fall in West Norfolk, with 390 for Downham and 333 in Hunstanton.

The remainder, just over 1,000 have been divided among 55 villages.

A total of 1,300 separate sites have been considered for development with 134 included in the final plan.

Vivienne Spikings, the authority’s cabinet member for development said: “It has been a long and rigorous process to reach this stage of the plan and it has involved making some difficult decisions, but I feel the proposals place the borough in the best possible position to manage future growth and ensure West Norfolk remains a place where people want to live, work, visit and do business.”

But opposition parties have voiced fears over the potential impact of future house building on local services.

Last month, Labour councillor Charles Joyce questioned whether the combined effect of traffic from developments around Edward Benefer Way had been properly assessed.

And, this week, Toby Coke, UKIP’s Norfolk County Council group leader, said: “What is apparent is that the Borough Council is solely concerned with the building of new homes, without the necessary infrastructure in place, be it schools, roads, surgeries.

“This is why we are totally against the Local Development Framework.”

Council leaders have warned of potential “chaos” in the planning system if no framework is developed.

But Mr Coke warned the plan would go “pear-shaped” without proper infrastructure and claimed there was “huge resentment” among communities about the amount of housing proposed.

Representations to the consultation, which will remain open until February 23, can be made on the borough council’s website, www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, emailed to ldf@west-norfolk.gov.uk, or posted to: LDF Team, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, King’s Court, Chapel Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1EX.

Following the consultation, the framework will go to a planning inspector who will determine whether it is sound. If approved, it is expected to come into effect later this year.