Bid for first 200-homes in Rackheath eco town

Ed FossA planning application for the first 200-home stage of the Rackheath eco town should be submitted by June, the promoters of the scheme have revealed.Work on this 'exemplar' phase, which would be built at the southern end of the development and feature different types of energy saving technology to help demonstrate the viability of the development, could start in December if everything goes to plan.Ed Foss

A planning application for the first 200-home stage of the Rackheath eco town should be submitted by June, the promoters of the scheme have revealed.

Work on this 'exemplar' phase, which would be built at the southern end of the development and feature different types of energy saving technology to help demonstrate the viability of the development, could start in December if everything goes to plan.

And three months after that, in the spring of 2011, the first homeowners could move into the eco homes. The 200 homes, some of which might have short term uses as offices in advance of the wider development, would take approximately two years to complete.

The update on the project timescale was provided by the team at Norwich-based Building Partnerships, a regional property development company heading the Rackheath scheme along with Barratt Strategic and experts from the University of East Anglia among others.


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December is not only the target for starting work on the ground on the exemplar houses, but also a target for registering an outline planning application for the whole 4,000 home site and associated infrastructure, added Mr Knowles.

This outline permission would be followed by phased detailed planning applications, the first likely to be for 2,000 homes, with a target date of 2013 to begin building them.

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The whole project would take between 10 and 15 years to complete, said Mr Knowles.

Various factors could affect both timescales and the scale at which development is planned, such as how much money comes out of a Broadland District Council-led bid to government for �28m of kick start funding, as previously reported in the EDP in November.

And the exact level of response from local communities to any planning application remains unknown, with a number of petitions against the plans already in existence and a vocal group called Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB) engaging actively at both community and political level.

When the planning application comes thorough it will be put in the context of the government telling councils they must identify sites where tens of thousands of homes could be built by 2026 across Norfolk.

If the homes were built the current forecasts were that the open market units (others would be offered as affordable homes) would be sold at market value rather than at inflated prices because of their eco status, said Mr Knowles, although this situation was frequently reassessed as the project developed.

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