Despite an ongoing discussion dating back to 1989, there is still no official Green Belt around Norwich. However, since 2007 there have been a number of local protection policies put in place to preserve green spaces. This, in effect, has created an unofficial Green Belt made up of numerous park and open spaces surrounding the city.
Despite these policies, the campaign for the Green Belt is still going strong, aiming to formally protect the countryside and green spaces around the city. This is in large part due to the several hundred existing planning applications to build on greenfield sites around the city.
A planning hot potato
The issue is something of a hot potato at both local and government level. Of course, it is absolutely necessary to protect the historic and rural characteristics of the city but conversely, there is a shortage of housing stock and the city can’t afford to stagnate or price out buyers.
Current information from the Office of National Statistics shows that the current number of applications outstrips demand. And there is a call to develop on existing brownfield sites before any greenfield sites are green lighted for development. This would seem to be a happy compromise.
The potential of brownfield sites
Developing brownfield sites results in less damage to green spaces and can tap into existing infrastructure, reducing the carbon footprint of any development. With growth in the city expected to remain fairly constant until 2036 at least, sympathetic and effective development of these sites will help Norwich to retain its attractive qualities and character while also providing new homes.
What investors need to consider
Of course, all of this has significant repercussions for investment in property in the area. Investors need to be aware of how brownfield site development will affect existing property.
Excessive development on current greenfield sites may offer investment opportunities, but will this damage the long term investment strategy and reduce prices in the town? It is a careful balancing act.
Investors in potential greenfield sites also need to be aware that projects may meet with substantial resistance from local community and action groups. Although there is no official Green Belt, the de facto preservation orders add a layer of complications.
Similarly, any future development of a Green Belt will have significant implications for the property market in the town, making brownfield sites a very exciting proposition.
How to find out more
If you’d like to know more about how the proposed Green Belt could affect property in the Norwich area, then speak to our property experts at Agile. Nobody knows more about the market and likely scenarios a major planning development such as this could have. Give us a call and get informed.
To find out more about the local and national property market, or if you would like to chat about anything to do with property investment, give us a ring on Norwich 01603 567804 or send us a message.
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