Police issue 'stress' warning over King's Lynn housing development proposal
Police chiefs have warned that a proposed new housing development in Gaywood risks putting "additional stress" on their resources, unless additional funding is secured.
The unusual intervention relates to revised plans for more than 200 new homes on land off Parkway, for which a formal application was submitted by West Norfolk Council last month.
But a letter from the force to the authority has called for the borough to provide potentially tens of thousands of pounds towards policing if the scheme gets the go-ahead.
The document, which was published on the borough council's website today, argues the action is needed to ensure that the "necessary police infrastructure is available" to meet planning policy guidelines.
It goes on: "Norfolk Constabulary have identified that this application will deliver significant growth.
"This proposal, in combination of other applications, is placing significant additional pressure on police resources.
"To address this, further investment will be required to enhance provision and infrastructure.
"If this new provision is not funded and delivered through the planning system, the consequence is that additional stress will be placed on already over-stretched existing police resources.
"New infrastructure required as a result of the development is therefore justified to be secured by developer contribution to maintain and deliver a safe and secure environment and quality of life (and limit crime and disorder and the fear of crime) for existing and future residents."
The letter highlights the findings of a study commissioned by the National Police Estates Group, which concluded that as much as £840 million of additional funding would be needed for the police service if government house building targets are met between now and 2040.
It says that equates to around £168 per house to help fund additional officers, staff and floorspace, plus vehicle and equipment upgrades.
That would equate to around £38,000 for each of the maximum 226 homes that are envisaged as part of the Parkway scheme.
However, the letter added: "Norfolk Constabulary have not identified a need for new build facilities or significant extension to existing buildings, so therefore it is considered that a contribution of £50 per dwelling [just over £11,000] would be an appropriate level to be secure."
That scheme had provoked fierce opposition from heritage and environment campaigners, as well as threats of legal action, because of the anticipated impact on sensitive wildlife habitats.