Growth Options document

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FOREWORD - THE CHOICES WE FACE

Broadland, Norwich City and South Norfolk are great places to live and we all face many challenges to maintain what is special to each of us. The economy of our area is set to grow significantly during the plan period to 2036, promoting local prosperity. Well planned growth brings great benefits, providing us with the high quality homes, jobs and infrastructure we need, while at the same time protecting and improving our special environment. This is why this consultation is important.

We already have plans in place identifying where the new homes, jobs, green spaces and additional infrastructure we will need to 2026 will be built. The main locations include brownfield sites in Norwich, the major urban extension to its north-east, expanded strategic employment sites such as the Norwich Research Park and some growth at most of our towns and larger villages.

But we now have to make choices over where the identified additional growth needed to 2036 will go. The approach we take will have important long term implications for both our urban and rural communities. Should we continue to build on our current strategy which mainly concentrates growth close to Norwich? Or should we take a different approach, dispersing more of the additional homes to villages? Also, we could plan for a new settlement or settlements which could help meet our growth needs further into the future, or we could combine elements of different approaches.

There are lots of issues to take into account in making these choices. Social, environmental and economic factors must all be considered in deciding the best growth strategy. Most importantly, we need to make sure that we chose locations where new development, particularly the new homes we so desperately need, are delivered. As a current Government consultation document says "The housing market in this country is dysfunctional. The root cause is very simple: for too long, we haven't built enough homes". In addition, having too few houses built leaves us vulnerable to non-planned, speculative housing development.

We are taking a joined up approach working together as district councils and the county council with other providers of the facilities which support growth, such as transport, health care, education and water infrastructure. Current transport improvements, with the opening of the Northern Distributor Road, planned improvements to the A47 and new public transport and cycling facilities will affect growth choices. In addition, the plan will have be adaptable as technologies develop in the future. For example, advances in digital communications will undoubtedly shape our lives as we move to 2036 and there are likely to be other changes that we don't yet know about.

However our lives do change, sustainable access from homes to services and jobs will remain the key consideration for good planning. We need to plan for economic growth in the right locations, especially for high technology jobs. We also need to find the right sites to help young people currently struggling to get their first home and, with an aging population, for more homes for older people. To support this growth, we must make best use of the infrastructure we already have and plan for the new infrastructure we'll need.

These are just some of the issues we must consider and choices we have to make through the Greater Norwich Local Plan. Please help us by providing your views and local knowledge.

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