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SNUB legal bid on Greater Norwich plans to be decided next month

Stephen Heard, right, and Stewart Lindsay at the site of the wartime USAF Rackheath aerodrome, which has been classed as a brownfield site despite being returned to agrcultural use for 65 years.; Photo: Bill Smith

Stephen Heard, right, and Stewart Lindsay at the site of the wartime USAF Rackheath aerodrome, which has been classed as a brownfield site despite being returned to agrcultural use for 65 years.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

Campaigners are confident of success when a legal challenge is heard at the High Court next month, which could potentially unravel the plans of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership.

Campaigners from the Stop Norwich Urbanisation (SNUB) group have challenged the joint core strategy (JCS) which was adopted in March.

With the help of specialist environmental lawyer Richard Buxton, the group has outlined its case based on three key claims, which the GNDP is contesting:

- Sustainability appraisals for growth locations and potential alternatives did not meet legal requirements.

- The £112.5m Northern Distributor Road project, crucial to delivering the proposed housing targets in Broadland, was not assessed as part of the process.

- Issues about water supply and waste water treatment were produced too late during the public examination for concerns to be addressed effectively.

SNUB chairman Stephen Heard said, despite the financial risk, he had high hopes for the hearing scheduled for December 6 and 7.

“We had a meeting with our legal team last Friday and they are confident that they will win,” he said. “The biggest challenge is getting the money to pay for it. We have raised £9,000 from donations so far, but even if we won we need to raise £5,000 more. If we lose, the bill will be in excess of £50,000.” Broadland District Council chief executive Phil Kirby said the JCS programme had continued in a bid to avoid a “vacuum” which could diminish control over unwanted development.

“It is all very well for a group to challenge a process, but in my view they need to fully appreciate the implications,” he said. “By having a core strategy in place we can influence how developers want to take sites forward. If that falls away because of this legal challenge, we are back to another two years of being at the mercy of developers.”

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