Council's housing policy slammed

By Jenni DixonA COUNCIL has been criticised today as the seventh worst in the country for ignoring Government policy and allowing "urban sprawl" in its area.

By Jenni Dixon

A COUNCIL has been criticised today as the seventh worst in the country for ignoring Government policy and allowing "urban sprawl" in its area.

A report published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) names Waveney District Council in the top 10 of more rural and smaller district councils that have given planning permission for new, low-density housing developments.

It also claimed a low proportion of the new housing in the district was built on previously-developed, brownfield land or through conversions of existing buildings, with the bulk of homes constructed on undeveloped, greenfield land.

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CPRE planning campaigner, Julie Stainton, said: "These councils appear to be ignoring official Government planning policy and targets, which call for an end to wastefully low densities and for more land recycling.

"CPRE strongly supports these Government policies because, if applied, they reduce the rate at which countryside disappears under bricks, mortar and Tarmac, while meeting the need for new homes. New housing consumes more greenfield land than any other kind of development."

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"We ask councils to think carefully about how they can improve their performance, working with developers to get away from wastefully low housing densities and to make better use of conversions and underused or vacant land for new homes."

Mark Bee, the new Leader of Waveney District Council, said it was currently reviewing the local plan, which showed where and what type of new development may take place.

"The desire is that we will look to using more brownfield sites and seek to ensure the sprawl does not continue like it has done," he added.

"Certainly, we will support the CPRE, but a lot of the building that is being done at the moment was given planning permission three or four years ago."

Mr Bee said the council would be trying to preserve its "dark skies" policy, where applications for new houses were refused in rural areas to protect them from development and light pollution.

The report comes after an application was made to the council to build 18 homes in Carlton Colville - where there are plans to build about 750 new houses in the village that has seen its population more than double in recent years because of new housing developments.

An application from Persimmon Homes to build 121 houses on mostly undeveloped land in the area is currently on hold following concerns from district and parish councillors.

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