Scrap ecotown idea, says county council

Controversial plans to build an eco-town on the former RAF Coltishall airbase are unviable and should be scrapped, according to the county council.Developer Richard Davies is heading a consortium which wants to build an eco-town, which will house almost as many people as North Walsham.

Controversial plans to build an eco-town on the former RAF Coltishall airbase are unviable and should be scrapped, according to the county council.

Developer Richard Davies is heading a consortium which wants to build an eco-town, which will house almost as many people as North Walsham.

Coltishall is one of 15 areas shortlisted across the country, with 10 due to be given the go-ahead.

But on Monday Norfolk County Council's ruling cabinet hit out at the plans and warned it would have a devastating effect on the local transport network and surrounding environment.


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Last week it emerged that the numbers of homes originally proposed could double to 10,000, and the cabinet warned a development of that size would spill into the surrounding Broadland area.

Concerns ranged from the viability of a proposed light rail link between Wroxham and Norwich, the impact of traffic of the extra homes, to fears about a lack of detail about the exact number of affordable homes.

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The cabinet backed a motion by Adrian Gunson criticising the development.

Mr Gunson said while the council supported new development in Norfolk being built to zero carbon standards it objected in the strongest possible terms to the proposed eco-town development.

“The idea that people can be somehow dumped on a town and told to stay there I think is quite extraordinary,” he said. “This site is poorly located in an area of high landscape value adjacent to the Broads and will need significant levels of infrastructure investment, particularly around road, rail and education.

“We call upon the government to explain how these fundamental concerns are going to be addressed for this site which is clearly unviable and undermines the delivery of the sustainable growth planned for the Greater Norwich area.”

North Norfolk district council has previously criticised the plans and the lack of public consultation on the principle of the proposals.

Its planning committee is due to debate plans for a jail on part of the airbase site on June 30.

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