CPRE Norfolk is opposed to the proposed 'Food Hub' at Easton and has submitted a 12-page objection outlining our reasons.
A letter by Dr. Shepherd was printed in the EDP on 31st May. The full text of the letter is:
I wish to submit the letter below on behalf of CPRE Norfolk.
Rosemary Castle (EDP 25 May) is right to point out the might of agri-business in their support for the Broadland Council version of a Food Hub at Easton. An examination of the consultation responses on the Council web site shows the sharp division between the objections made by local residents, and the fervent support of agri-business. Less expected, there are also academic and research and development supporters. The support of both groups extended far beyond the application under consideration, in several cases to programmed and prospective major road schemes related to the Food Hub.
These two groups of supporters have a concern about future funding after 2019-20. That for farming is well known and understandable. The Local Enterprise Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk published a report on the 22nd February revealed other sectors who face financial implications on leaving the EU. To quote from the LEP report: “Our research has found out from the EU programmes investigated, at least £1.9 billon worth of EU funding and finance is estimated to have been received to date by New Anglia since 2007, leveraging a total investment of £7.34 billion”.
What the LEP found was striking is that while the total R&D category received £91.8 million, there was zero support of funding from other sources, and was unique in that respect. The greatest contrast is with TEN-T Transport where EU funding of £126 million was part of a total investment of £1.37 billion.
The LEP document gives a breakdown of the EU funding on R&D. This includes from 2007-13 for the University of East Anglia (UEA) Low Carbon Innovation Fund from 2007-13 a total of £8 million, plus another £1.1 million other UEA. Another EU funding stream (FP7) saw UEA at 28.5 million euros, and those in the Norwich Research Park a total of 36 million euros. The Horizon 2020 fund brought UEA 10.5 million euros and the Norwich Research Park 11.7 euros. Like farmers they are rightly concerned about loss of EU funding, and facing a high degree of future uncertainty. We can sympathise with that; but not to the extent of giving unqualified support to such a damaging development.
We appear to be in a period where politics and business converge in a monoculture of economic growth and deals, bypassing communities and our environment. Broadland Council and the Greater Norwich Growth Board should think again. They should instead promote a planned Food Hub, one which would serve the original Government concept rather than have another and hidden agenda, and locate it where there is both space and logic; on the Norwich Research Park.
Ian Shepherd, on behalf of CPRE Norfolk
Dr. Shepherd has also written a comprehensive appraisal of the proposal for the May edition of Norfolk Voice.
Amazingly, there is currently no officially designated Green Belt around Norwich to help protect our green spaces and open countryside from excessive, inappropriate and unnecessary development. There are currently hundreds of planning applications to build thousands of houses on green field sites around the periphery of one of England’s most important historic cities. We all benefit from the rural open character of the hinterland around this fine City and its loss will be a tragedy for us all. That’s why CPRE Norfolk feels strongly that we must show Government how important it is to us and why it needs better protection.
As part of a campaign to promote practical solutions to climate change, CPRE Norfolk has been researching examples of local buildings that use renewable energy and low-impact construction techniques. A great variety of buildings have been discovered - from barns to water mills, cottages to smallholdings, studios to sheds, environment centres to ordinary council houses - and each has something remarkable to offer.