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A Vision For Norfolk

A Campaign For A Better Future

#V4N

Norfolk’s environment is a unique and precious asset. It allows us to grow a substantial amount of the UK’s food, supports a major tourism industry and has an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna.

Today, Norfolk is facing many challenges including population growth, climate change and the ending of the partnership with the European Union. At the same time, there are huge pressures to grow our economy and build more houses. We must plan effectively, fully valuing our countryside and environment.

The ‘Vision for Norfolk’ is a call for us all to join in the debate about how we manage these pressures, while protecting this precious and fragile environment. The land we have is a finite supply, and all of it serves a purpose. Once it is changed, it cannot be recovered.

You can join the debate and help make a difference for the future, and the legacy we leave for future generations.

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A Vision For Norfolk?

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (Norfolk) champions much more than just the protection of the countryside. We believe that protecting all the things that make Norfolk unique will best serve the future of our county, all who live in it and the UK as a whole. As the population of Britain expands, the tranquil, attractive and uncrowded landscapes that Norfolk offers become increasingly important national assets.

We believe that by planning our future, taking a balanced approach to growth, satisfying the needs of all of us who live and work in Norfolk, protecting our economic future and making sure jobs and the right housing is available at every level, we can ensure the protection of our environment as well as our future prosperity.

Tell us if you agree.

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A Lack Of Vision?

We are concerned that current plans and policies for Norfolk put short term profit before Norfolk’s people and environment.

Sites for more than 100,000 new houses have already been allocated or granted permission. At the current rate of building, it will take over 30 years to build these dwellings. The scandal is that only a fraction of these sites are being built on while councils are still allocating even more green field sites for development.

The Government has now issued even higher targets, which, when added to existing allocations, will see the population in Norfolk rise by over 40%: equivalent to the building of another Greater Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford.

These targets are not based on known market demand, but on Government assessments, which make a worrying number of assumptions, including that the current level of immigration will be maintained.

We think it makes good sense to balance our economic growth with protecting our key assets.

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What Makes Norfolk Worth Protecting?

Not only can we prosper from a beautiful Norfolk, but we can all benefit from the things that draw visitors here. A major part of the attraction is our ‘ordinary’ countryside – it is all too easy to overlook the benefits this brings, but it is probably our most important resource.

None of it is just ‘spare’ land.

These assets must be protected if we are to safeguard our largest employers – tourism and agriculture – which together support tens of thousands of jobs. Tourism alone contributes over £3 billion every year to Norfolk’s economy.

Our future prosperity lies in our countryside resources. We need to get the message to government that a balance must be reached between growing our economy and preserving our county.

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Housing - the big issue

Unrealistic and excessive housing targets totally reliant on a few national house builders are simply not delivering the kind of houses Norfolk needs. This approach has given rise to schemes on greenfield sites which are not serving the local community’s needs and are damaging our environment.

Developing disused sites, converting unused commercial property into housing and legislating to bring upper floors of shops back into use rather than sitting empty will make a substantial difference. Higher density sites in urban areas with shared green and productive community garden spaces are vital in providing housing for all.

Do you agree we should:

Ensure that additional greenfield sites are not allocated for housing until the plentiful supply of existing sites has been utilised

Block the planning loophole which allows developers to impose developments in areas not allocated for housing?

Stop urban sprawl, prioritise brownfield sites and apply the green belt principles to town planning?

Link infrastructure with housing and jobs to support local needs?

Become more innovative and use a mix of traditional and new methods of building, and legislate for new houses to be built to A+ environmental standards?

Invest in the best design and planning for new and extending communities?

Have direct government investment in affordable houses?

Look at new ways to realise the value from development to pay for community and infrastructure development?

Understand the factors behind the shift from owned to rental housing, and from public sector to private sector provision and achieve a balance?

Make existing housing allocations smaller and better targeted to deliver houses of the right type, price and quality, and invest in community self build schemes?

Strengthen neighbourhood planning so that local communities can have a real say about the level and location of development?

Green Belt: when exceptional circumstances aren’t exceptional

Green Belt myths

One million new homes on brownfield land

Green Belt for Norwich

Affordable homes

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Growing Norfolk - joined up thinking

A successful Norfolk needs the right infrastructure. We should plan this before anything else, not try to adjust it later in the hope that it will cope with new demands. Our current solution of more roads for more cars is no longer sustainable.

Whether travelling by road or rail, using the internet or telephone, having local support services such as schools, shops and hospitals, investment in reliability and availability must remain at the top of the list, for every community both urban and rural.

Our vision is to create and sustain the environment for Norfolk’s successful business sectors to expand, whether they be in the life sciences, higher education, food processing, financial services, the creative industries as well as tourism, agriculture and energy.

Do you agree we should:

Work together to keep a thriving tourism industry and make sure an unspoilt ‘green’ Norfolk is available to future generations?

Develop and invest in an innovative, bold, new transport strategy to ensure we make traffic congestion and deprivation a thing of the past?

Develop and expand our businesses in a sustainable way, and always value the environment at least equally to economic considerations?

Ensure we only build energy efficient buildings and invest in enabling all our existing buildings to become more efficient and cheaper to run?

Encourage energy companies and communities to work together with government support to increase production and develop new ways to harness the power of the environment around us?

Make the balanced use of water resources a very high priority?

Protect rural tranquillity including our inspiring dark skies and dark landscapes?

It is common sense to tackle these issues as a priority.

Councils failing to protect countryside

A new direction in road building

Improving the brownfield picture

What next for rural England?

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Agriculture - sustainable food production and enhancing our countryside

Diverse farms, both small and large, must be viable and able to invest in their soils, protecting and enhancing the environment, which has never been more important. Farmers must get a fair price for their produce, all of which should be used and not wasted.

Our agricultural land must be valued for its contribution to the beauty of our county, as well as its practical benefits such as flood alleviation. We must protect the land where we grow our food – and recognise that the differing grades of farmland support different produce, making it all equally important. We have a real opportunity to set an agricultural agenda that will be a model of best practice.

Do you agree we should:

Protect and stop the loss of our agricultural land of all qualities?

Enable our farmers to have economic viability, investing in their businesses, improving their soils, getting a fair price whilst protecting the rural environment?

Have a system which enables us to protect and enhance the natural environment?

Look to diversify rural businesses sympathetically?

Always value our land and countryside properly, recognising its many roles such as flood alleviation?

Enhance access for leisure and education, increasing appreciation of the value of the land?

Buy and eat local food

The ground beneath our feet

Land is not a disposable asset

Farming fit for the future

Future agricultural policy is in our hands

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Energy and Resources - more efficiency and less waste

We waste vast amounts of energy through inefficient buildings, costing us all money. Long commutes are a waste of fuel and our own time. All this adds to pollution and long term damage to the environment, as well as increasing our stress levels.

It is vital to protect our resources such as water and reduce pollution from our cars and buildings. We also need to address an energy gap. After all, we are forecast an energy shortage within the next 10 years, which is something that cannot be solved by the nuclear industry.

Norfolk is a leader in the production of green energy. We have been learning lessons about where energy production can be sited so it is integrated into landscapes and avoids damage to communities.

Do you agree that we should:

Only build A+ energy efficient houses and invest with a grants and loans system to enable all our buildings to become more efficient and cheaper to run?

Encourage energy companies and communities to work together with government support to increase production and develop new ways to harness the power of the environment around us?

Make the balanced use of water resources a very high priority?

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Our environment - at the heart of everything

Once an environment is changed, for instance by development, building roads, pollution or water extraction, it is changed for ever. When a green field is built on, it cannot be replaced.

National and local conservation, environmental and heritage bodies throughout the country have been established to monitor, advise, lobby and influence everyone from the general public to our key decision makers. Our society is dynamic and changes brought about by issues such as population increase and climate change must be embraced. But the views of these bodies need to play a key part in all decisions taken in the future.

Our vision says it is common sense to listen to and respect the arguments.

Wild Anglia

Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Wildlife Trusts – Manifesto for a Greener UK

Anglian Water – water efficiency

Anglian Water – impacts, adaptation and vulnerability

Anglian Water – Biodiversity Strategy

Light pollution in Norfolk

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How do we realise this vision for Norfolk

Our countryside, landscape and historic environment are at the heart of protecting our future prosperity. Our land is not an endless resource that can be squandered. Conserving, maintaining and improving these assets is essential if we are to prosper. This takes collective planning.

A broad church of our politicians, business leaders, farmers, conservation bodies, academics, service providers and all our key decision makers need to play a full part in all decisions taken in the future, and not be left on the sidelines. But more than that, communities must also be involved with meaningful, well thought through and responsible consultation.

Our young people must have a vital say, for this is their future we are dealing with.

All councillors, MPs, the LEP and business leaders must ensure meaningful consultations take place and our collective views are taken into account. It is a common sense approach to have a shared and agreed long term strategy.

If you agree please join the debate.

CPRE Alliance calls for review of housing targets

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Look beyond the horizon. What people have said.

“Norfolk’s environment is a unique and precious asset. It allows us to grow a substantial amount of the UK’s food, supports a major tourism industry and has an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna.

Today, Norfolk is facing many challenges including population growth, climate change and the ending of the partnership with the European Union. At the same time, there are huge pressures to grow our economy and build more houses. We must plan effectively, fully valuing our countryside and environment.

The ‘Vision for Norfolk’ is a call for us all to join in the debate about how we manage these pressures, while protecting this precious and fragile environment. The land we have is a finite supply, and all of it serves a purpose. Once it is changed, it cannot be recovered.

How we value the countryside and our historic towns is the key to the future. You can join the debate and help make a difference for the future, and the legacy we leave for future generations.”

Chris Dady, Chairman, CPRE (Norfolk)

“Norfolk Wildlife Trust seeks a sustainable Living Landscape for wildlife and people where the future of wildlife is protected and enhanced through sympathetic management of land and where people are connected with, inspired by, value and care for Norfolk’s wildlife and wild spaces.

The county is famous for its wildlife and habitats and is extremely rich in its biodiversity, but so much of it is rare and endangered and confined to isolated, fragmented nature reserves.

It is not enough to protect what is there from growing threats. Its future survival depends on us taking a more landscape scale approach to its conservation and this means creating more space for wildlife and repairing broken ecological networks. We have much in common with CPRE’s Vision and look forward to working together for the benefit of Norfolk’s wildlife, countryside, people and prosperity, within the context of a sustainable environment.”

Brendan Joyce, Chief Executive, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

“Norfolk must stop being so easily seduced by the prophets of boom. Quality of life is not a commodity to buy and sell on an artificially-stoked housing market, bound to trample over genuine requirements in precious places.

Perhaps a radically old-fashioned approach should be at the heart of a fresh vision for our county. Let’s put proper care and respect for all our communities at the top of a new agenda. Unwanted and unwarranted large-scale developments – and all the grisly trimmings travelling with them – spell environmental and social suicide. Norfolk must have the right to ‘dew diffrunt’!”

Keith Skipper, Norfolk writer and broadcaster

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Sign up to the vision for Norfolk

Let’s make a better and more prosperous Norfolk a reality. Vision for Norfolk – #V4N – is about bringing our collective common sense and local focus back into planning our future to allow Norfolk to grow with the housing and jobs we need, whilst protecting our environment. Our businesses and communities can flourish and we can add value not only to ourselves but to the future of Britain.

It will take a change of approach to implement, but we must demand that these challenges are met with well considered, robust and sustainable long term plans.

You can be a part of the campaign by telling us you agreewith #V4N.

Register your support, write to your MP, become a member or give a donation to support this campaign.

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Contact us

CPRE Norfolk

A Vision for Norfolk: A Campaign for Common Sense
T: 01603 761660  Email

CPRE Norfolk
86 St. Benedict’s Street
Norwich, NR2 4AB

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