Council bosses have defended keeping locations where almost 600 new affordable homes could be built under wraps - claiming it could jeopardise schemes if they were revealed.

Officials have drawn up a list of sites where £7m could be used to get affordable homes built on 'brownfield sites' - including disused and derelict land.

Watton & Swaffham Times: The locations where 600 new affordable homes could be built are not being made public yetThe locations where 600 new affordable homes could be built are not being made public yet (Image: Chris Bishop)

But Norfolk County Council, which would get the money as part of the county's pending devolution deal, has faced accusations of secrecy because the list of locations - which has been drawn up in collaboration with district councils - has not been made public.

At a council meeting on Wednesday, it emerged even members of the Conservative-controlled cabinet have not been provided with the 'draft pipeline' to be submitted to the government.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Labour county councillor Chrissie RumsbyLabour county councillor Chrissie Rumsby (Image: Labour Party)

Chrissie Rumsby, Labour county councillor for Norwich's Mile Cross division, questioned why the list had to be shrouded in so much secrecy.

She said: "We are asked to make decisions, but to make them we need to have full information.

"Norwich has some big brownfield sites and I don't know if the brownfield sites being looked at could possibly be Anglia Square and the Colman site."

Watton & Swaffham Times: Anglia Square in NorwichAnglia Square in Norwich (Image: Archant)

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Simon Hughes, the council's director of property, said the list had not been shared because of commercial confidentiality.

He said: "There are a number of reasons why we would not want to publish at the moment.

"A number of the sites are going through commercial negotiations. Districts and developers are looking to buy land and looking to get constructors on board.

"They need to secure fair value as part of that. If someone overpays for land, this scheme will not fund it."

Watton & Swaffham Times: Simon Hughes, director of property at Norfolk County CouncilSimon Hughes, director of property at Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

He said work would have to start by March 2026, which meant some schemes would fall away, so there was a need to "manage public expectation".

He said it was a "very normal" process and sites would become "very public" later, when planning permission would need to be secured.

The devolution deal includes an investment fund of £20m a year for 30 years and control of the £12m adult education budget.

In July, the council will vote whether to change its structure to pave the way for a directly-elected leader as part of the deal.

The first election would be in May next year.