Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

New home target raised to 141,700

House under construction
New targets for housing in Norfolk are described as "unrealistic"

The target for new homes to be built in Norfolk over the next 18 years has been almost doubled by the government.

Councils must respond to an advice unit's suggestion that up to 67,000 extra houses should be built by 2031.

Norfolk has already been asked by the government to accommodate 74,700 new houses over the next 18 years.

The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) plan would boost new homes building to 141,700. That would mean 6,000 new houses every year.

'Plan for growth'

NHPAU has advised the government that Norfolk's minimum target should be an additional 36,390 houses, giving an average construction rate of 4,830 a year to achieve 111,090 by 2031.

The government has, through the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), asked local authorities to respond to NHPAU's advice.

Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: "I personally think the high figure proposed by this housing think tank is highly undesirable for Norfolk, and is neither realistic nor achievable.

"Norfolk needs to plan for growth, but it must meet the highest environmental and design standards and growth must only take place if the vital infrastructure improvements are agreed and financed by government.

"I am concerned that county and district planning officers are having to spend time on this proposal when they are already hard-pressed on important work such as making the case for major injections of government funds for infrastructure improvements in the Norwich area and in King's Lynn."

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