Norfolk Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2022
“Nutrient Neutrality” continues to dominate the headlines across much of Norfolk, preventing the issuing of planning permissions for thousands of new homes, and delaying the Plan-making process.
Ongoing uncertainties over the format and extent of mitigation required to deliver Nutrient Neutrality continue to delay Plan-making progress in Norfolk. Whilst work by Royal Haskoning to refine the Nutrient Budget Calculator and identify a credit-based strategic mitigation scheme is ongoing, the progress of both the Greater Norwich Local Plan and North Norfolk Local Plan have been severely impacted by the Natural England guidance issued on 16th March 2022.
In addition, the Greater Norwich Local Plan is currently grappling with a shortfall in provision of Gypsy/Traveller sites, and a lack of consensus amongst the Authorities and Inspectors on how best to deal with this. The impact of nutrient pollution mitigation on the housing trajectory remains unclear.
Submission of North Norfolk District Council’s new Local Plan was programmed for summer 2022, but it is unlikely that the Plan will be submitted until there is much greater clarity on strategic mitigation to address nutrient pollution. This delay will only exacerbate North Norfolk’s housing land supply shortfall.
Meanwhile, in Breckland work continues on both a Partial and Full Review of the Local Plan. If the Partial Review is not accepted by Inspectors, Breckland’s policies will be deemed ‘out of date’ and the presumption in favour of sustainable development will apply. Their Call for Sites exercise has been extended to December 2022, providing a further opportunity to promote new sites.
Elsewhere, Kings Lynn & West Norfolk finally submitted their Local Plan Review at the end of March 2022.
Five Year Land Supply
Five-year land supply opportunities remain relatively limited across Norfolk at present, because of the Nutrient Neutrality requirements. However, the Nutrient issue has led to the Greater Norwich Authorities conceding that they are not currently able to demonstrate a 5-year supply; a position that has been further cemented through a recent appeal decision in Poringland. The extent of shortfall has not been quantified, and opportunities are limited to those parts of the Districts outside the Nutrient Neutrality catchments, and/or those able to demonstrate Nutrient Neutrality.
North Norfolk’s housing land supply is estimated to be well below 5 years, and as a consequence, they are considering applications on sites allocated in the emerging Local Plan favourably. Again, opportunities are constrained by the Nutrient Neutrality catchments as well as the AONB designation.
Breckland continue to claim a supply in excess of 5 years, although this has not been adjusted to reflect delays in delivery resulting from Nutrient Neutrality.
For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Norfolk please click on the map below.