'Revolution' needed to boost affordable home building in city

Construction work to build 520 homes at Postwick off Smee Lane between the Broadland Business Park a

Construction work on new homes in Postwick off Smee Lane between the Broadland Business Park and the NDR - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

A "serious amount of affordable homes" are needed to tackle Norwich's housing crisis which is forcing young people out of the market, experts have warned.

The call is being made as house prices continue to soar because of increasing inflation and building costs, lack of supply and people living longer.

Temporary delays to housing plans have also affected the building of affordable homes after government advisor Natural England brought in nutrient neutrality rules earlier this year.

Natural England has told Norfolk councils they must not grant permission for any projects until developers can prove the plans would not lead to more nutrients flowing into the River Wensum and Broads.

It is not known how long the new legislation will affect planning applications, according to Phil Courtier, director of place at South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council.

Wil Barber is giving back to the community with £1,000 worth of grants for students.

Wil Barber, owner of William's Way Estate Agents - Credit: Wil Barber

Wil Barber, owner of Drayton-based William's Way Estate Agents, said: "There needs to be some serious affordable homebuilding.

"I don't know what the answer is because we are behind on what is available. There is not enough supply.

"We need a revolution. I don't see the problem going away.

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"I empathise with communities when homes are built but the infrastructure is not in place.

"Over the past two years house prices have gone up 20pc but people need homes. People need help from granny and grandad or mum and dad to buy. With inflation, people are more hesitant to buy but I cannot see a crash in the market because there are so many buyers."

Mr Barber backs the idea of new towns where infrastructure was part of developments and believed more people would buy in Norwich's suburbs or surrounding villages compared to the city centre because of changing lifestyles.

Peter Milliken, Easton Parish Council vice-chairman, also liked the idea of new towns, and said it was "urgent" affordable homes were built.

An artist's impression of how the Festival Park Persimmon Homes Anglia development will look off Der

An artist's impression of how the Festival Park Persimmon Homes Anglia development will look off Dereham Road in Easton. - Credit: Persimmon Homes Anglia

There are currently around 890 homes being built by Persimmon Homes Anglia on the edge of the village in Dereham Road and he added the parish council was working with the developer on providing affordable homes.

He felt part of the problem behind rising house prices was higher earners from the South East moving to the city and surrounding areas.

Easton Parish Council chairman Peter Milliken.

Easton Parish Council vice-chairman Peter Milliken - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Milliken said: "People in Norfolk are struggling to get on the housing ladder. We have got to find a way to bring forward housing that is affordable. Young people have to move away which breaks family bonds.

"Housing has been allocated in the wrong places in some instances. It is easier to build on nice greenfield land rather than redevelop brownfield sites."

He added there were many knock-on effects from nutrient neutrality changes because of house plan delays and "it should be sorted as a matter of urgency".

Mr Courtier said there was a nationwide housing crisis and Norfolk's housing market was strong.

He said: "We don't know what the extent of the delay on housebuilding will be but we are working hard to make it as short as possible.

"Brownfield sites are being pushed forward but we don't have enough brownfield sites to be able to accommodate the houses we need so we need to look at greenfield sites."

Brownfield sites included Anglia Square and Colman's Carrow Works site.

Carrow Works revelopment

How the Carrow Works site could look after redevelopment. - Credit: Allies And Morrison

The council expert said the Greater Norwich Local Plan for around 50,000 homes, under deliberation by the government, would include 33pc affordable homes under the National Planning Policy Framework.

If the plan is approved these homes will be built before 2038.

Mr Courtier added the new town concept, which he backed, could be included in future housing delivery plans after 2038.

Green Party Broadland district councillor Eleanor Laming

Green Party Broadland councillor Eleanor Laming - Credit: Contributed

Eleanor Laming, who represents Brundall for the Green Party on Broadland District Council, said: "Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head. The housing situation is complicated but we need more housing for social rent."

She added one issue was older people not downsizing for families and younger people to move in.