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Survey suggests nimbyism over new housing is on the wane

PUBLISHED: 10:15 28 July 2014

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis. Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A steep fall in opposition to new housing close to people’s homes shows that nimbyism is on the wane, a Norfolk MP and planning minister has implied.

Newly-published findings from the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey showed the number of people against new homes being built in their local area fell from 46% of respondents in 2010, to 31% in 2013.

The report found the strongest opposition to new housing came from people living in “a small city or town” – 34% – and those living in “a country village” – 32%. However, it also said opposition had fallen most sharply among these groups.

The report’s authors wrote: “Opposition fell across all age, tenure and income subgroups and among respondents living in different types of areas. However, home owners, those living in small cities and towns and in rural areas were still more likely to be opposed than renters and those living in large cities.”

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who was promoted to minister of state for housing and planning in this month’s government reshuffle, said the increasing acceptance of new developments in local areas was due to the government’s planning reforms, which introduced a presumption in favour of “sustainable development”.

He said: “This changing mind-set can now be seen in the pipeline of projects coming through the reformed planning system. Last year successful applications for major housing schemes were up 23%, and planning permissions were granted for 216,000 new homes.

“The new planning system puts local people in control, so if they want to build more homes, they will.”

The term “nimby”, which refers to people who support developments in theory but “not in my back yard”, was popularised by Conservative environment secretary Nicholas Ridley in the 1980s.

Last November, a blueprint for where 37,000 new homes should be built in and around Norwich received the green light.

A number of proposed housing developments in Norfolk have attracted high-profile opposition from nearby residents in the past year, including some in Holt, Heacham, Horsford, Downham Market and Trowse.

Do you support new housing near you? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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