Norfolk’s brownfield options must be considered first

A new report by a countryside campaign group challenges claims that there is a shortage of brownfield land suitable for housing development.

The survey, published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), says the use of green fields cannot be justified because the amount of previously-developed land is growing faster than it is being used.

Neil Sinden, CPRE's director of policy and campaigns, said every acre of brownfield land which was redeveloped could help regenerate industrial sites while safeguarding green belt areas.

'The idea that we're running out of brownfield land is a myth,' he said.

'Developing new housing on appropriate brownfield land first is the most environmentally, socially and economically sustainable option.

'Land is a finite resource and we should recycle it whenever possible.

'It can't be right to dig up fields and hedgerows for housing when we have chain link fences around derelict sites blighting large areas in our towns and cities.'

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The report says England has sufficient brownfield land available and suitable for residential development for almost 1.5 million dwellings.

Roger Burroughs, spatial and community planning manager for Broadland District Council, said all possible brownfield options had been exhausted before green fields were considered for the GNDP's growth strategy.

He said: 'The starting point was always to use what was already there.

'The core strategy is looking at a further 3,000 homes in Norwich, so we are trying to squeeze what we can into brownfield sites – but there is a finite amount.'

GNDP manager Sandra Easthaugh said: 'That was what we were required to do.

'We would have had a lot of explaining to do if we had not looked at brownfield sites first.'

?Browse our 'Urban Sprawl or Vital Growth' section for stories on the growth plans of the GNDP (Greater Norwich Development Partnership).