Hopes block on thousands of new homes can be lifted within months

Ariel view of the Broads

Concerns over pollution on the Broads and River Wensum have left housing plans in limbo - Credit: Mike Page

Hopes have been raised that a block on decisions over thousands of new homes across Norfolk could be cleared within months.

Bosses at Norwich City Council are optimistic councillors will be able to make a decision over planning permission for the multi-million pound Anglia Square scheme in the autumn.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

And that reflects hopes among Norfolk's councils that a solution can be found to a controversial directive which has left decisions over thousands of homes in limbo.

The aspiration is that recently brought in consultants will help find solutions so councils can grant permission for homes.

Norfolk’s seven district, borough and city councils are paying £75,000 to Peterborough-based Royal HaskoningDHV to find ways to satisfy 'nutrient neutrality' requirements introduced upon the instruction of government advisor Natural England.

Those measures are designed to ensure the River Wensum and the Broads are not affected by wastewater pollution from new developments.

Until a strategy is drawn up for how to mitigate the impact of wastewater from new homebuilding, councils have been unable to grant permission for new 'overnight accommodation' within those catchment areas.

Anglia Square in Norwich

Historic England has objected to plans to revamp Anglia Square in Norwich - Credit: Antony Kelly

But council bosses are hoping consultants will find solutions so such decisions - such as on the Anglia Square revamp - to be made.

A city council spokesperson said: "We are continuing to work hard, and as quickly as possible, to identify solutions for all affected developers.

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"The precise timing of when the Anglia Square application will be decided hasn’t been confirmed as yet, but we remain hopeful it will be during the autumn.”

Weston Homes lodged plans, including up to 1,100 homes plus retail and commercial space, for the 11.5 acre shopping centre site in April.

Tim Adams (Liberal Democrats) is standing for Cromer division.

Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council - Credit: Supplied by the Liberal Democrat

Tim Adams, Liberal Democrat leader of North Norfolk District Council, had warned there could be delays of up to two years due to the issue.

He said he was now "marginally more optimistic", but feared progress remained at a "glacial pace".

He said: "It is just so frustrating. There is particular frustration among smaller developers and individuals who might only make one application in their lives, but have got caught up in this. It couldn't have come at a worse time."