Norfolk core strategy challenge opens at High Court

A legal challenge against a key planning document drawn up by three local authorities has opened at London’s High Court.

The High Court: case will last two days
The High Court: case will last two days

The Joint Core Strategy (JCS) which maps out the next 15 years of development in Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk is being challenged by local campaigner Stephen Heard, chair of local campaign group SNUB (Stop Norwich Urbanisation).

Heard is challenging the adoption of the JCS on 22 March 2011, which sets out plans for 33,000 new homes in the Norwich area between 2008 and 2026, as well as a new Norwich Northern Distributor Road to serve the new housing development.

He claims that the environmental impact of the JCS, adopted jointly by Broadlands District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk District Council, has not been properly assessed and is seeking to have parts of the strategy quashed that impact on housing growth and related transport provision in the Broadlands District.

Alleging that the necessary strategic environmental assessment was not carried out, he says that the councils failed to provide any assessment at all of alternative development policies or other options for major growth locations.

And he says that they also failed to assess the environmental impact of the new major road link to Norwich, expected to be a dual carriageway 12 miles long, which is needed to service the growth in the Broadlands area.

He argues that it was acknowledged in an environmental report that the road has the potential to result in environmental impacts, but that there was "little certainty", and claims that the precise alignment of the road was not assessed at all.

Lawyers for the councils argue that Mr Heard’s claim is not supported by the evidence, and that the JCS should stand.

Mr Justice Ouseley is expected to reserve his decision in the case following two days of complex legal argument.

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