Housing is becoming a hot issue in West Norfolk and the Lynn News took the chance this week to talk to shoppers about the problem.
On Monday, Heacham residents celebrated when a bid to build 200 new homes on the edge of the village was rejected by the West Norfolk Council planning committee.
But, at the same time, thousands of local people are looking for a low-cost home, leaving the authorities trying to work out just how the demand for homes should be met, while residents seek to protect their own communities.
George Walsh, of Gaywood, said: “The problem is they don’t build council houses any more.” Rising house prices also meant young people just starting out could not afford a mortgage.
Italian Giuseppe Lombardo, who now lives in Lynn, said there was less reliance on social housing in his home country. “People buy or build their own,” he said. He felt the Government could help by creating more jobs so more people could afford to get on the property ladder.
Several people said immigration was an issue. Shirley Rippin, of Lynn, said: “A lot of immigrants take up houses.” Despite getting on well with her own foreign neighbours, she said: “I think that is a lot of the problem.”
She supported moves to create flats above shops in the town centre saying: “A lot look empty and I’m sure young couples would like to live in the town centre.”
The Heacham housing plans included a care home, which she felt could benefit some residents. “In years to come, they will perhaps need somewhere like that, not far away from where they used to live,” she said.
Claire Woodlow, of Gaywood, sympathised with Heacham residents who felt the housing development proposed was too large for their village. She said: “Heacham is such a lovely little village. I wouldn’t be happy.”
She added: “Unfortunately, housing is going up everywhere now, regardless of whether it’s social or private.”
Victoria Byfield, of Lynn, said young people who had grown up in the village but could not afford a home there could benefit from the development.