MP Truss risks wrath of her constituents with podcast ‘nimby’ jibe

PUBLISHED: 16:48 07 August 2018

Elizabeth Truss has said there are a lot of 'nimbys' in Britain. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Truss has said there are a lot of 'nimbys' in Britain. Picture: Ian Burt

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A Norfolk MP has risked upsetting many of her constituents by criticising “nimbies” and calling for more greenfield land to be developed.

In a podcast interview with the Financial Times, Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, hit out at those who oppose new housing projects, after saying she felt more greenfield land was needed for developments in future.

She said: “I do think we need to open up more land for building, a lot more.”

It comes as the county finds itself locked in debate over greenfield developments, no more so than over controversial plans for a new 10,000-home garden village near Dereham.

Ms Truss also said there were a lot of “nimbies” in the country, a name given to people reluctant to see development close to their homes deriving from the phrase ‘not in my backyard’.

However, Michael Rayner, planning campaigns consultant for the Campaign for Protection of Rural England’s Norfolk branch, said being a nimby in Norfolk was not necessarily a bad thing.

He said: “Norfolk is very much the backyard of the country, with so many areas of tranquillity and beauty, so everybody should be a nimby.

“It is obviously an extremely complex problem in Norfolk, there is certainly a need for new homes, but it is about building the right houses in the right places.

“There are plenty of places already allocated for development in the county and we firmly believe in prioritising building on brown field land before even considering open up green field spaces.”

Mr Rayner added that Norfolk’s countryside was increasingly important to those with mental health needs, given the peace it offered.

Mr Rayner’s views were echoed by Jonathan Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk.

He said: “We do recognise there will always be a need for housing, however we feel rather than opening up green field sites we want to see homes built on existing allocated sites.

“It is so important in an area like Norfolk we ensure developments are in keeping with our local surroundings.”

Ms Truss was contacted to elaborate on her podcast remarks, but did not respond.

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