£9m awarded to Norfolk councils to restart housing plans

Central government have given councils in the county £9.6m to help restart housebuilding plans that have been delayed by almost two years.

Planning permission to build 16,000 homes in Norfolk have been in talks since 2022, however they were postponed due to concerns about pollution levels in the River Wensum and on the Broads.

green grass field with trees and houses

Against this backdrop, Norwich Broadland, South Norfolk, Breckland and North Norfolk councils stopped granting permission for new properties close to the waterways. The authorities said no more homes could be constructed until measures were implemented to stop sewage from new properties impacting river nutrient levels.

However, thanks to funding from the government, the plans to build new homes have been given the go-ahead, as over £9m has been earmarked to help fund mitigation measures that include paying farmers not to keep livestock near rivers.

Lee Rowley, local government minister, who visited a housing estate at Beeston – a town near Norwich, said: ‘We have seen too many homes stuck in the planning system. This government backs the builders and not the blockers.

‘This fund will help unlock new housing in catchment areas like Norfolk, supporting councils to build more homes that local communities want and need.’

However, environmental groups, have claimed that whilst introducing nutrient neutrality measures were a start, the government need to do more.

Norwich Green Party councillor Gary Champion said: ‘Instead of improving the water we are just removing one source of pollution and replacing it with another, so the river is still polluted.

‘We really should be taking measures to bring overall pollution levels down.’

Image: Phil Hearing

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