Agenda item

North Walsham Development Brief Public Consultation


 North Walsham Development Brief Public Consultation

Executive Summary

This report seeks agreement to publish a draft version of a Development Brief for the large-scale urban extension at North Walsham for a period of public consultation.


Options considered.

The Planning Policy and Built Heritage Working Party has previously considered the methods and time periods for consultation.



The Local Plan has been subject to a number of external consultations in line with statutory requirements and been developed through collaborative internal engagement and Member steer through the Planning Policy & Built Heritage Working Party. Full Council authorisation for the submission of the Plan for independent examination was received on 1.3.23.

The Authority has previously consulted on the scope of a Development Brief, a draft Master Plan, Vision, and set of high-level development principles. The Draft Development Brief builds on these previous themes.



Members agreed the Draft version of the North Walsham West Development Brief as a basis for a period of public consultation.


Reasons for recommendations

The Local Plan is now at an advanced stage of production having been submitted for independent examination.

Preparation and approval of a Development Brief is a policy requirement of the site allocation in the Local Plan. Its preparation will be a key indicator of the site’s deliverability.

The content of the Brief should be informed by comprehensive and inclusive engagement with stakeholders.


Background papers

Submission version of the Local Plan and all background papers and supporting evidence including the previous consultation documents for North Walsham are published and available on the Councils new Local Plan examination Library Home | Local Plan Examination (




 Wards affected



Cabinet member(s)

Cllr Andrew Brown: Portfolio Holder for Planning


Contact Officer

Mark Ashwell, Planning Policy Manager



Links to key documents:

Corporate Plan:

Production of the Local Plan is a cross cutting theme in regard to delivery of the Corporate Plan’s priorities.

Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS)


Council Policies & Strategies

Core Strategy and Site Allocations Development Plan Documents. Housing Strategy



Corporate Governance:

Is this a key decision


Has the public interest test been applied


Details of any previous decision(s) on this matter




  1. The SPOMG introduced the Officers report and recommendation. Officers considered that the North Walsham Development Brief (DB) was far enough progressed to engage in public consultation, with the Council due to form its opinion at a later date after public consultation had been concluded.


Since the last meeting Members had been provided advance notice of the DB and were provided the opportunity to engage and discuss the DB with the Planning Policy Manager (PPM). The SPOMG noted that feedback received from these briefings was positive.


The DB was formed in collaboration with the promotors, the Council, and NCC Highways – who had expressed their approval to the DB and the detailed Highways proposals. The Planning Policy Team considered that the DB was policy compliant with the emerging Local Plan, and specifically allocation NW62-a. The SPOMG advised that the PPM had previously explained that through the consultation of the DB, the Council would be able to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector for the Local Plan that the scheme was achievable, and the allocation viable.


The SPOMG detailed the sites location and the three core themes of the DB; open space, community and economy. Open space in the DB had been designed to become more linear in nature and act as a soft edge to development whilst also promoting active travel, with Weaver’s Way incorporated in the green infrastructure to enhance the overall development. Link Road, which formed the spine of the development was to be flanked by tree-lined avenues, with built in foot and cycle paths separate to the road to enable better permeability by foot and cycle across the site and beyond, complaint with GIRAMs requirements. The development would provide playing pitches, play areas for children, and allotments. At the centre of the site would be a new school, a community hub and elderly care facility, creating a nexus point for the community.


It was noted that part of the DB included details of a proposed access over the railway line to the North of the site to facilitate a further Northern Expansion. However, it was considered that the benefits from such extension would not justify the high costs.  NNDC were engaging with Norfolk County Council with regards the upcoming infrastructure delivery plan to include a dedicated project for delivering North Walsham West. It was considered that the new link road would help direct traffic and alleviate current traffic pressures. The SPOMG noted that the new roads would not remove HGV movements for Aylsham Road entirely, but would significantly reduce movements by redirecting those that need to access facilities in the centre of North Walsham. Bespoke traffic models forecasted a 50% reduction in HGV movements in the town centre, this was endorsed by NCC Highways. Aylsham Road had been modelled to account for pedestrian use access and traffic improvements, with the DB proposing the introduction of traffic lights for one way use, this would enable the widening of footpaths and ensure larger vehicles were able to make use of the space under the centre of the bridge for safety and better access.


In addition, the SPOMG confirmed that the junction at Coltishall had also been modelled, with the proposed removal of a parking bay to help alleviate congestion issues.


The SPOMG noted that there was a commitment to ensure the delivery of off-site improvements early, with an expectation they occur in the early phases of the development.


  1. The Local Member - Cllr P Heinrich stated, having spoken at length with the developers and the PPM along with Cllr G Bull (also a Local Member) in fine detail, that he considered the overall scheme was remarkably good for a development of this nature. He commended the developers for having listened to representations and taken these in account through the DB. Whilst he was positive about the scheme more broadly, and for going to public consultation, Cllr P Heinrich stressed the importance of the extension of the link road to the industrial estate. He stated that he was unconvinced by some of the HGV modelled figures, and considered the extension of the link road pivotal, though stated that he did appreciate that that land was not owned by the consortium. Cllr P Heinrich sought assurances that the intention to build out the link road to the industrial estate remained within the Local Plan and that the Council would continue to make best efforts to progress this over the course of the development.  Cllr P Heinrich proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation.


  1. The Chairman reflected that he was uncertain how the Council could govern if/when the link road was expanded. He noted that, due to the size of the development, it would be built out in phases, and it was conceivable that some elements remained outstanding by the time the Council commenced work on the next local plan.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich agreed that the link road would be the most difficult part of the whole development. He considered that the link road, as set out in the DB, would reduce the number of traffic movements through the town centre and endorsed this be developed as soon as possible. He considered this a priority to the scheme, and urged that conversations needed to continue to carry out that final link to the back of the industrial estate, though accepted this would be neither easy nor quick.


  1. Cllr M Hankins understood that there were issues in North Walsham with the capacity of schooling. He noted that the delivery of the school would be with the remit education authority, and commented co-ordination and forward planning did not always ensure delivery.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich advised, based on the most recent figure he had seen, that there was significant capacity at the secondary school (around 2/3 full) and there was additional capacity in the 2 primary schools. He considered that opposition would centre on the provision of health services not schools.


  1. The Chairman sought confirmation that S106 contributions would be put towards school provision.


  1. The PPTL confirmed that, as the site was developed, the usual discussions regarding viability and appropriate contributions would take place. It was noted that County Council were committed to the delivery of a new school.


  1. Cllr V Holliday reflected on the proposed Health Care Provision. She noted that 85% of the population lives within a 20 minute walk of their GP, which may not be achievable for occupants on this site. She further considered the bus route east to west did not appear as good as the provision north to south, for those elderly residents and those reliant on public transport it may not be early to go to the main GP surgeries. Further, she questioned whether there was capacity to take on the extra GP’s and whether this had been considered.


  1. The Local Member - Cllr G Bull echoed the comments of Cllr P Heinrich and agreed that the meeting with the PPM and developers was very informative. He commented, as a former Member of North Walsham Town Council that he was encouraged that the Town Councils views had been considered. He was supportive of the expansion of the link road, and noted that the package of land went either side of the railway bridge. Cllr G Bull considered that whilst the cost of the bridge would be extortionate, he saw benefit in developing the highway network either side of the bridge with a view the bridge may be constructed at a later stage. He further acknowledged that there was concern within the community about the provision of healthcare.


  1. The Chairman asked, if agreed, when the consultation would start.


  1. The PPTL advised that dates weren’t fixed and that there would be a commitment to deliver member briefings. The developers had taken into account feedback received from the Planning Policy & Built Heritage Working Party last meeting, and the consultation was therefore not expected to commence to September at the earliest.


  1. Cllr N Dixon stated that he supported the scheme in principle, which he considered to be the right solution to a raft of problems. Secondly, he commented that the consultation documents for the DB were likely as good as they could get with respect of readiness and fitness for public consultation. Cllr N Dixon affirmed that he was aware of some major challenges, many of which centred on North Walsham which had been well covered off, however concerns relating to the impact of traffic through Coltishall, Worstead and the B1150 should not be overlooked. Cllr N Dixon considered, at this early stage, the mitigation outlined in the DB to be woeful, and stated that he was unconvinced that the scale of the problem had been properly assessed. Though he was not the Ward Member, he expressed his keenness that those neighbouring villages be consulted and be given greater focus.


  1. Cllr H Blathwayt supported Cllr N Dixon’s comments and agreed that the impact of traffic on the bridge in Coltishall to be immense. He considered that this area, which already had traffic problems, had the potential to become a major issue. He encouraged consultation with the Broads Authority and with Broadland District Council.


  1. The Chairman noted that the proposed adjustment in Coltishall was set out in the report as being minor. He questioned whether this minor adjustment may be sufficient.


  1. The PPTL advised, once the consultation had concluded that the detailed response and feedback would be supplied to Members. Opportunity would then be available to have a further discussion. Studies had been undertaken on the road network, and the methodology agreed, and findings endorsed by the County Council.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich commented that the Highways modelling in this instance looked good and the change would seem to address the problem. His expectation was that this view would not be shared in any representations from Coltishall residents.


  1. The Chairman asked whether there would be any additional benefits to Coltishall through the scheme.


  1. The PPTL confirmed any planning applications would need to consider off-site mitigations. There were no proposals for off-site improvements and open spaces beyond North Walsham through the scheme.


  1. Cllr N Dixon noted the pitch points in Coltishall; the bridge and the approach road from the old railway to the village, which was very narrow and winding. He argued that consideration needed to be given to all 4 points detailed, and greater mitigation given.


  1. The Chairman asked if Coltishall residents would be able to participate in the consultation.


  1. The PPTL advised this would be a public consultation and would not be limited to North Walsham only.


  1. Cllr G Bull seconded the Officers recommendation.




Members agreed the Draft version of the North Walsham West Development Brief as a basis for a period of public consultation.


Supporting documents: