Building enough houses to make sure everyone in our area has the chance for a roof of their own, while also making sure we protect our rural landscape and heritage, is often a difficult balance.
That’s why I set up my Norfolk Way Project to promote a new model of rural development, protecting our heritage AND driving a ‘Rural Renaissance’ in our towns and villages with improved transport links and new businesses and opportunities.
Since becoming MP for Mid Norfolk back in 2010, I have worked with local community groups and councillors to promote a more local and organic model of development and make sure everyone’s voice is always heard on planning issues. Whether on protecting the Lizard or saving the Tiffey Valley, where there is a danger of large-scale over-development I will always speak out to make sure we protect our landscape and heritage.
What we need is a long-term local plan. That’s why I will continue to work with local councils over this Parliament to make sure they get proper Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans in place, ensuring development is always in keeping with our area’s traditions and heritage.
Please see my latest updates on my work on this issue below.
As part of my ongoing work to help communities in Mid Norfolk create their own Neighbourhood Plans, I am delighted to highlight the efforts of Saham Toney once again, as they now look to take their Plan to Referendum on Tuesday 26th October 2021 – with voting taking place at the Wells Cole Community Centre 7am and 10pm.
There is widespread public anger about the lack of real local planning in recent years and the move to a system in which local council control and discretion is reduced, infrastructure funding is cut, and large scale out-of-town volume housebuilders are able to make billions from lazily dumping large scale commuter housing on the outskirts of villages and towns with wholly insufficient infrastructure.
All of our market towns face the familiar challenge of balancing new growth and development with the needs of the communities living in, and around, them – all the while preserving the unique rural heritage and way of life that we all cherish, and that makes our part of the world such an attractive place to visit.
Many parts of Norfolk were badly hit by heavy rainfall back in December, and in the first couple of months of this year. The flooding caused followed similar problems back in the summer of 2020, and on several occasions over the preceding few years – continuing an increasingly common trend.
It is no secret that I have deep concerns about the high number of applications in our part of Norfolk – many of which are, often, highly inappropriate and on a scale that is unsustainable and out of keeping with the heritage and identity of our largely rural area, lacking the services and infrastructure needed to support them and the existing community, as well as clearly breaching the sustainable development criteria set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and 2011 Localism Act.
As part of my ongoing work to help communities in Mid Norfolk create their own Neighbourhood Plans, I was delighted to speak with members of Mileham Parish Council over Zoom this last week – as they explore the pros and cons of possibly creating a Neighbourhood Plan for themselves.
As many constituents, businesses and local Parish Councils have contacted me about in recent weeks, the Government has recently held two important consultations – the ‘Changes to the Current Planning System’ and ‘Planning for the Future’ consultations.