When we couldn’t travel, go to shops, doctors, entertainment and education we got through on what we had locally. That brought us back together, following the rules for each other and appreciating our key workers who kept things going. Many of us embraced new technologies and adapted to new ways of working. Those values of co-operation, of community and compassion that underpin Norfolk are the values that we need to cherish.
What we are increasingly seeing is new housing developments being slapped down across the county without enough thought for community, without thought for sustainability. The assumption is that those who live there will drive to work, drive to take children to school, drive to shop for everything they don’t buy online. Not having to provide the community infrastructure avoids costs for developers but costs us the things that connect us and that make Norfolk. Too many developers are creating housing estates, not communities.
There are magnificent examples of communities that have saved their pubs, local shops and other local facilities. Sadly, too few as others close and are converted into homes. Too many communities are being left without access to a bank, limiting choices and making trading even tougher for small businesses. The successes of community empowerment show the way and our commitments take inspiration from those taking a stand to improve their community.
Create a Neighbourhood Planning Team to support and empower local communities
Encourage a community led planning process, not a developer led one
Support community ownership of community assets such as the local shop or village pub and revise the Council’s assets disposal policy
Create a team dedicated to help communities take control, to include a start-up fund to pump prime schemes that bring amenities under local and cooperative ownership and soft loans to help fund capital schemes and purchase
Ensure that County Council owned Repton Homes builds energy efficient high-quality homes for social rent and homes that are genuinely affordable that take account of the average Norfolk wage
Use council buildings and libraries to ensure that people can access essential services such as ‘pop up’ banks and access to cash
Protect and invest in our library and mobile library services
Provide free admission for Norfolk residents to Norfolk Museums Service one day per month