Homes occupy more land than any other development within the principal settlements of North Norfolk. They’re a hugely important part of our lives and carry a significant impact on our environment. Ensuring housing is well designed will help address housing need, bring communities and neighbours together, support health and wellbeing and reduce levels of crime and antisocial behaviour.
Over the lifespan of the new Local Plan (2016 - 2036), a provisional housing target of around 10,500 -11,000 new homes will be built in North Norfolk to satisfy the established housing need. This target, combined with the continuing demand for domestic extensions, replacement dwellings and para 79 development, ensures that residential building continues to be the greatest development pressure facing our District.
In terms of growth distribution, this development pressure will be focussed on the larger settlements through the identification of potential sites for allocation in all of the towns and four of the larger villages (Mundesley, Ludham, Briston and Blakeney). It has also been agreed in principle that some modest growth (up to 20 dwellings) could be permitted in a number of the more sustainable villages in the District.
Whilst securing high quality residential design can be challenging and involves collaborative working, the results are proven to benefit both developers and owners. Inventive and creative design solutions usually result in delivering more on site without jeopardising quality or character, while the use of practical and durable materials, internal configurations and detailing can reduce maintenance and management costs.
The council recognises the under supply of affordable housing within the District, there is also a need to diversify and secure a greater housing mix in terms of the size and tenure of the units being built. The ageing population and changing patterns of work also highlight a need for greater adaptability within the Districts housing stock and a need to ensure housing is accessible and suitable for all needs.
A recent review of the Districts residential developments built out through the last round of Site Allocations (2011) has highlighted a number of development trends which have had an adverse affect on the quality of new developments. These design flaws can be summarised through the need to improve:
- Character and Identity - the creation of identity and sense of place through new development.
- Standardised Design - the overreliance on standard house types usually neo-vernacular or pastiche resulting in homogenous urban extensions.
- Parking and Street scene - the vehicle dominance and lack of effective layering of views and spaces.
- Private Spaces - the mixed quality of private garden space and amenity space.
- Public Space - the need to improve facilities, shared public spaces and linkages to wider movement networks.
- Detailing - the mixed quality of detailing and finishing treatments.
- Adaptability - current housing stocks offers little adaptability or flexibility for differing users.
- Landscape and Green Infrastructure - the need to effectively integrate landscaping and green infrastructure.
Para 7 of the NPPF states that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, which is defined as having three objectives: an economic objective, a social objective and an environmental objective. To help achieve this the framework ‘supports strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by ensuring that a sufficient number and range of homes can be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations.’
Health and Wellbeing
Our home, both the location and the physical built form, influences so many aspects of our lives - from how well we sleep, to how often we see friends, to how safe and secure we feel. In order to improve the health and wellbeing of the District from individuals, families to ensure communities, the quality of housing is one of the most important places to focus and its where we spend most of our lives.
Significant research and evidence has gone into establishing links between poor housing and our mental, social and physical health, increasingly it has also considered how well-designed homes offer better health and wellbeing for residents. However, this evidence has not yet had much tangible impact on the development market or design policy. Reaching a tipping point in the demand for and supply of healthy homes requires action across all parties of the house building and political spectrum.
By following the principles in this section house builders, developers and agents can improve the value of their residential developments and help create vibrant places with strong communities in North Norfolk.