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