The Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) is being produced by Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council working together with Norfolk County Council through the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP).

We aim to produce a plan which will help to meet local housing and economic growth needs, whilst also protecting and enhancing the environment. This involves a number of stages of consultation.

We are currently at stage B of the “Regulation 18” phase, the New, Revised and Small Sites consultation.  This consultation will run from 9am on Monday 29th October to 5pm on Friday 14th December 2018 and we are asking for your views on these sites. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Local Plan Process

What is this consultation about?

The current consultation covers newly submitted sites, small sites and revisions to some sites already consulted on in January 2018.

We asked your views on more than 600 suggested sites (“Site Proposals”) and on strategic planning issues (“Growth Options”) in early 2018 so we are not consulting on these again at this stage.

However, when commenting on new sites, you can also tell us if you have anything more to say about nearby sites consulted on in early 2018.

We will consult on the draft plan, which will include the planning strategy for the area to 2036 and the sites we intend to allocate, in September/October 2019.

What is a local plan?

Local plans are an essential part of our land use planning system – they help to manage new development responsibly for the benefit of everyone and to make sure it happens in the right places. A local plan sets out a vision for the future growth of an area. It has to tie in with Government policy, regional and local strategies for the economy, transport etc. A local plan includes strategic planning policies to guide development, and identifies sites for new homes, jobs and infrastructure. It sets out what is going to be developed, where it will happen and how it will be achieved. Once adopted, a local plan is used when decisions on planning applications are made in the area it covers.

Who is making this new local plan?

The Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) is being produced by Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council working together with Norfolk County Council through the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP). The Broads Authority is also part of the GNDP but produces a separate local plan. 

Why are you preparing a new local plan so soon after the last ones were adopted?

Plans must be kept up to date and Government suggests a review is required at least every five years. They should plan ahead for at least 15 years. The current local plans, which include the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and separate site allocations documents for the area, were adopted at various times between 2011 and 2016. They include policies which require an early review to be undertaken for example because local circumstances or national policies and planning rules have changed. Local plans take some time to produce, and therefore the evidence we produced for the JCS is now out of date. We are expecting the GNLP to be examined by a planning inspector in early 2021, and hoping each local authority will be able to adopt it later that year. The current plans look to 2026; the new GNLP will plan to 2036.

What will the new local plan contain?

The GNLP will:

  • contain a vision and objectives for the area and strategic policies;
  • identify land for a range of uses, such as housing, employment, community uses, leisure, and retail;
  • identify land that should be protected from development; and
  • outline how we will monitor the plan’s effectiveness.

Have you already decided where the new growth is going?

No. No decisions have been made yet on where the additional growth needed to 2036 (for 7,200 additional homes) will go. The responses to the consultation and other evidence will help us decide. Sites for around 35,700 homes are already identified in the existing local plans or have planning permission. This is 83% of the sites needed for the period to 2036 (in total for around 42,900 homes). Far more sites have been submitted for us to consider than will be needed. This means that there is a good range of sites available to help meet growth needs and to protect and enhance the environment.

What evidence will you base your decisions on?

We have received evidence on housing need; economic growth; strategic flood risk; caravans and houseboats needs; a habitats regulations assessment and a housing viability study. We have asked for views from a variety of consultees on the suitability of sites proposed to us, and have had meetings and workshops with stakeholders including transport, water, electricity, health and education providers, developers and parish councils. A sustainability appraisal is an important part of plan production. We may need further evidence as the plan progresses.

Questions about the Quantity & Distribution of Growth

Why do we need more housing?

More people move into Greater Norwich than leave, mainly from elsewhere in the UK. Additionally, people are living longer, there is a tendency for households to get smaller and young people are finding it increasingly difficult to establish their own home; so even with no population growth there is a need for more housing.

If we don't plan to meet the housing needs that evidence says we will need to meet, supply will not meet demand and upward pressure on house prices and rents will make it even more difficult for young people to get a home.

Housing is linked to the economy in many ways. If there are not enough homes, businesses will suffer from a shortage of customers and employees. Therefore, a housing shortage could stop companies expanding and prevent new businesses from setting up here.

Without a clear and detailed plan to manage growth there is also a greater risk that housing developments will be allowed in unplanned and less suitable locations. If we don’t have an up to date plan in place, national policy gives developers the advantage if they wanted to build on sites we may not choose.

How much housing is being proposed?

To help us determine exactly how much housing we need to plan for, we commissioned leading experts to undertake a study known as a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) covering Central Norfolk – not only the Greater Norwich area but North Norfolk and Breckland councils as well. This looked at population growth trends, household formation rates, affordability, evidence from developers and the predictions for economic growth to decide our “objectively assessed need” for housing (called the OAN) in the area covered by the GNLP and neighbouring district’s local plans.

Since the SHMA was published, the government has said it intends to change the way future housing need is worked out for plan making purposes. That way, all local authorities would be using the same national standard method for calculating an area’s local housing need (LHN). Although this method could change, it is sensible to base this local plan on the new method proposed by the government, rather than the old method used in the SHMA. This method suggests a local housing need of around 39,000 homes in the period 2017 to 2036.

We also have to ensure the plan is flexible enough to support a growing economy and to provide for our local housing need, even if some sites are not built by 2036. Therefore, an additional 10% contingency or “delivery buffer” is added and the plan will ensure that sufficient sites are identified for around 42,900 homes.

As of April 2017 we had a commitment of identified sites with planning permission and identified in existing plans for nearly 35,700 homes, so the GNLP needs to provide land for 7,200 additional homes.

Why do we need to plan for migration?

The GNLP will meet the housing needs of all our residents, but we can’t stop people from moving into the area from elsewhere. In fact, we wouldn’t want to. More people means we can safeguard existing services and provide new ones, and makes the area more attractive to businesses. Also, if we don’t provide enough housing in the market for people moving to Greater Norwich, demand for new homes will exceed supply. This will put up prices and make it increasingly difficult for local people to enter the housing market. The government requires us to consider this in assessing housing need.

Although the UK will be leaving the EU and the exact impact that will have on migration and the economy are uncertain, most of those moving to Greater Norwich come from elsewhere in the UK and this has been a feature of our area for many years. It is likely that this trend will continue.

My local area has some allocations from the last local plan – does this mean we’ve had our share?

No decisions have been made about where the additional housing and employment should go. When the locations for future growth are considered, recent development and outstanding allocations and permissions will be taken into account, alongside other evidence. 

Can’t you build a new settlement, and put all the growth there?

One of the options we are considering is the potential for a new town, village or villages. A new town or village would require a lot of investment in new roads, schools, shops, and doctors’ surgeries. A new town would take many years to get started, so could only accommodate some of the growth needed in this plan period to 2036. A new town or village would have to be very large to make a noticeable difference. Rather than an alternative to growth in existing places, it is sensible to consider a new town or village as one part of our growth options.

What will be the impact on the countryside?

We will continue the approach established with the JCS of protecting the most valued parts of our area and enhancing green infrastructure for nature and human use. The JCS includes a green infrastructure strategy which has produced various improvements to Marriotts Way, Whitlingham Broad, Catton Park and the Yare Valley, for example. There are more green improvements planned for the future, for example in Beeston/Sprowston/Rackheath/Thorpe around the ‘growth triangle’.

The GNLP will maximise the amount of development on ‘brownfield’ sites. Where we have to identify greenfield sites for development, we will base our decisions on evidence which will enable us to provide new green spaces, protect valuable landscapes, improve nature sites, and protect our natural resources, including minerals and water.

Could there be a Green Belt for Norwich?

Green Belts where they are established are not intended to restrict or prevent growth altogether, but instead can form part of a way of directing and managing required growth responsibly to protect the most valued areas of our countryside. Green Belts are set up for the long term so a Green Belt would direct patterns of growth in Greater Norwich well beyond 2036. Critically, under Government policy, new Green Belts can only be set up in exceptional circumstances. The consultation in early 2018 asked for people’s views on this. We will take account of consultation feedback and other evidence to decide whether a Green Belt should be included in the draft plan. 

Where are all the jobs coming from?

The Greater Norwich economy has grown significantly in recent years and has further strong growth potential. Since 2011 (when employment hit a post-crash low) the economy has grown by 29,000 jobs. Over the longer period since 2001 it has grown by 40,000 jobs1.

Since 2015, based on forecasts, the most significant growth sectors are expected to have been business administration and support services; arts; entertainment; recreation and other services; construction; retail; health; education, financial and insurance and motor trades.

The positive impact of Norwich University of the Arts is likely to have made a strong contribution to the growth of the service sector in the city centre. The construction sector, which had experienced decline previously, is forecast to have grown significantly throughout Greater Norwich recently. The recent rise in house completions across the Greater Norwich area, one of the main objectives of the Joint Core Strategy, is likely to be the one of the driving forces behind this.

Over the next few years the potential for growth will be enhanced by the recent opening of the Broadland Northway and planned improvements to the A47 and train services.
The Greater Norwich authorities work with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to help shape the economic growth and development of the area, and Greater Norwich has become one of the key ‘engines of growth’ in the region.

Our economic advisers believe that the economy can continue to grow strongly, particularly in ‘high value’ sectors. This is reinforced by the LEP’s economic strategy and other plans to attract growth in high tech and knowledge-based industries such as life sciences, biotechnology, agri-tech, food and drink, creative and digital industries, and high-value engineering. This is in addition to other locally important industries such as retail, tourism and financial services. The GNLP will support the creation of a range of employment opportunities, including high-quality, high-value jobs.

Why did you choose six growth options?

We produced a range of options to cover various ways to distribute new housing and jobs in the Growth Options consultation in early 2018, but there is inevitably some overlap between them. It is possible that we will choose one of the options (see appendix 1 of the Growth Options document here for the 6 options), or possibly a combination of two or more in the draft plan consultation in September/October 2019. The GNLP will ensure new homes and jobs are located nearby and are supported by the services, facilities and infrastructure needed.

Infrastructure

How will infrastructure be improved to support new growth?

New development in the plan will need to be supported by new and improved infrastructure, including schools, health facilities, roads, public transport and other community facilities. Growth can also help to support and maintain existing community facilities. The Greater Norwich authorities are working with infrastructure providers to identify the likely infrastructure requirements to support the GNLP.

Currently, the housing and jobs growth in the JCS is supported by the Greater Norwich Infrastructure Plan (GNIP). Updated yearly, the plan covers education, transport, community and green infrastructure projects which will support the development scheduled to happen in the area. Working in partnership helped make the case for A11 dualling and Northern Distributor Route funding and is likely to have influenced Highways England to take full responsibility for funding the planned improvements to Thickthorn junction linking the A11 and A47, rather than being partly funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

The City Deal, agreed in 2014, gives the partnership the ability to borrow money at a reduced rate from Government. In addition to this we have negotiated a further £20 million of borrowing to provide short term loans to developers to provide infrastructure and help the creation of additional homes and jobs, administered through the Local Infrastructure Fund.

Larger development sites will often provide infrastructure on site, and all sites will contribute CIL. The Greater Norwich authorities are the only local authorities in the country to pool CIL money to deliver infrastructure improvements across the area in a co-ordinated way, which gives a better outcome for our residents.

Since 2014, the Greater Norwich Growth Board have contributed 12.3m from their pooled CIL towards projects that are strategically supporting growth. In addition, the board agreed that up to £40 million of a loan facility, agreed through the City Deal, should be borrowed to support the development of the Northern Distributor Route into the Broadland Northway. Repayments of this loan are also paid from pooled CIL.

You can be sure infrastructure will be considered at every stage, and the local plan inspector will require us to show there is a reasonable chance that necessary infrastructure will be provided. Development will not be allowed to proceed without the necessary infrastructure in place or programmed to be delivered alongside it.

How will the transport system cope with growth?

In order to reduce environmental impact including contributions to climate change and air pollution, it is important that we choose locations for growth that reduce the need to travel, promote walking and cycling and make best use of existing transport networks and planned improvements. As growth options are developed there will be further work to identify what additional transport improvements will be required to support the chosen growth option and sites.

As well as the work being done for the local plan, Norfolk County Council is looking at wider issues on our transport networks and is undertaking a review of the transport strategy for the Norwich area and network improvement strategies for market towns. These strategies will be developed alongside the emerging growth plans and will look at the opportunities for wider improvements to the transport system.

There are not enough GPs at the local medical centre - how will they cope if more houses are built?

The NHS has programmes both nationally and locally to address the current GP shortage, for example the GP Forward View by NHS England. This plan allocates an additional £2.4 billion towards general practice by 2020, including an extra 5,000 new GPs over the next five years as well as thousands more general practice nurses and other staff. Locally, the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are looking to expand the healthcare workforce.

We will consider the location of GP surgeries when deciding on the distribution of growth, but as GP capacity affects almost all areas it is not something we can consider when making decisions about how much development each area can take. The GNLP will consider whether there are sufficient health care facilities (i.e. buildings) within the area, and the Greater Norwich authorities will continue to work with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, NHS England and the CCGs to ensure there are plans in place to deliver new or expanded facilities where they are needed.

Neighbourhood Plans

What is a neighbourhood plan, and what is the relationship between the local plan and neighbourhood plans?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act 2011 to help communities shape development in their areas. Neighbourhood plans become part of the development plan, once adopted (or ‘made’). A neighbourhood plan cannot block development that is already part of the local plan, but they can shape where that development will go and what it will look like. They can also protect important areas of local green space. Neighbourhood plans should be in ‘general conformity’ with ‘strategic’ policies set out in the local plan. The GNLP will identify which policies are considered to be strategic. Government guidance on neighbourhood planning can be found here.

Communities that have decided to prepare their own Neighbourhood Plans are entitled to an increased share of pooled funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to support their own local infrastructure projects.

A number of neighbourhood plans have been adopted in the area. Others are in the course of preparation or are proposed. The following list sets out the current position:

Broadland

Neighbourhood Plans have been adopted in the following areas:

The following parishes are preparing a Neighbourhood Plan:

  • Aylsham
  • Buxton with Lamas
  • Guestwick
  • Horstead with Stanninghall
  • Reedham
  • Spixworth
  • Taverham
  • Thorpe St Andrew
  • Wroxham

Norwich

In June 2018 Norwich City Council designated a neighbourhood area covering the Northern City Centre.   

South Norfolk

Neighbourhood Plans have been adopted in the following areas: 

The following parishes are preparing a Neighbourhood Plan:

  • Diss and district
  • Poringland
  • Dickleburgh and Rushall
  • Starston
  • Long Stratton

What happens next?

How long does this consultation last?

The Regulation 18 New, Revised and Small Sites consultation runs from 9 a.m. on 29th October to 5 p.m. on 14th December, 2018. 

What can I comment on, and how can I comment?

To make sure the consultation is comprehensive, we need to consult on newly submitted sites, small sites which have not previously been consulted on and revisions to some sites already consulted on. We are not seeking comments on the sites and strategy which were previously consulted on in January 2018. However, if a new site changes your opinion on a site we have already consulted on, please let us know.

To give as many people as possible the chance to comment on the new sites we will be doing the following:

  • All those on the GNLP database will be invited to respond, with emails also sent specifically to parish and town councils and Norwich City Council;
  • Posters will be sent to parish and town councils and will also be displayed in libraries and at bus stops;
  • Newspapers will be used to advertise the consultation;
  • Social media will be used;
  • All consultation information will be available at district council offices and Norfolk County Council at County Hall;
  • Hard copies of relevant consultation materials will be available to parish/town councils to aid their discussions on request (email us at gnlp@norfolk.gov.uk or phone us on 01603 306603).
  • Planning officers will be available during office hours to respond to any phone or email queries relating to the consultation.

The quickest and easiest way of responding to this sites consultation is online at the ‘Have Your Say on the new sites’ tab 2

The consultation comprises of:

  1. A summary of the sites for each parish. Follow the links to find the parish/town you are interested in. This will provide you with a map of each site and the opportunity to submit your comments.
  2. An addendum to the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) which has more detailed summaries for the new and revised sites to help you make your comments. The small sites are not included in the HELAA as they are below the site size threshold set in the methodology.
  3. Site Proposals Map booklets for each town/village/parish which show the new, revised and small sites in addition to all the sites previously consulted on.

Once comments have been checked and verified they will be available online (with respondents’ names) for others to see.

Any representations which are deemed to contain offensive comments will be removed from the consultation site. Whilst we will include names on our website, we will remove personal contact details such as addresses, telephone numbers, emails and signatures before publishing.

If you wish to comment and for your comments to be seen online, but feel you have a strong reason for your identity to be withheld from publication, you can contact your District Councillor who will put forward your comments as appropriate.  Please note that where you submit your views in writing to your local District Councillor, this is described as “lobbying” and the local member will be obliged to pass these on. The local District Councillor will be required to provide your details to the GNLP where they will be stored for their records.

Please note, however, that if you subsequently wish to comment as part of the formal Regulation 19 stage of the Greater Norwich Local Plan (due to take place in 2020) comments must be attributable for the public examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

See our Privacy notice here for information on how we manage your personal information.

If you have any further questions about the ways to comment, or if you need consultation documentation in large print, audio, Braille, an alternative format or a different language, you can email us at gnlp@norfolk.gov.uk or phone us on 01603 306603.

Will I get a reply to my comment?

Our consultation website will give you a reference so you have a record of submitting your comment, and our GNLP mailbox will send an automated reply so you will know we have received your email. We will not be able to give an individual reply to your comments, as we expect to receive a lot of them. However, we will consider all comments made.

Will you keep me informed as the plan progresses?

We have a database of people who have expressed an interest in the GNLP’s progress. If you make a comment on any consultation documents, we will add your contact details to the database, so you will be informed as we reach the next consultation stage. If you have no comment to make at this stage but wish to be kept informed, please ask to be added.

When will I find out what decisions have been made in my area?

The Regulation 18 draft plan will be consulted on in September/October 2019. This will contain both the preferred strategy for the area, and the preferred sites we propose to allocate to best meet that strategy. You will have the opportunity to comment on the draft plan. A Regulation 19 plan will then be prepared for submission to the Secretary of State and consideration by a planning inspector, with adoption of the plan scheduled for 2021.

Will my parish council be involved in the local plan process?

We held workshops for parish councils at the start of the local plan process, they are statutory consultees during this Regulation 18 consultation, and we will continue to work with parish councils as we produce the GNLP.

When will the new plan be adopted?

The Greater Norwich authorities plan to adopt the GNLP in late 2021. This will replace any district-level plans (such as site allocation documents or area action plans) and will also replace the JCS.

Key Facts and Projections

Some key facts and projections

[1] Source – East of England Forecast Model. Job growth figures from 2001 to 2015 are actual numbers, for the years 2016-2018 they are forecasts.

[2] If you can’t respond online, you can email your comments to gnlp@norfolk.gov.uk or contact us on 01603 306603 to get a response form.