This post is by Neil Murphy, Director, Policy, Planning and Economics
We’ve held off giving our project in Broadland a name for as long as we can, but the time has finally come to adopt a working title.
There are several reasons why we’ve resisted naming the project: places, not developments, have names and those names properly come from local custom and practice not developer marketing logic; we abhor the bland anywheresville names the volume house-builders typically confer on their projects; and the scale of land across which we are working is such that a single name would seem somewhat crude and trite given the mix of historic territories, not to mention parish geography, it encompasses. Above all, however, a proper noun has not seemed necessary. ‘Land in Broadland, north of Norwich’ has always sufficed.
But… not having a name was causing a few difficulties. First, as awareness of the project gradually rises, reference to the project as ‘Broadland’ or ‘Broadlands’ is becoming more widespread: this is confusing and inaccurate – worse, even, than the few instances we have seen of people thinking ‘Beyond Green’ is the place-name! Second, and more prosaically, as we move into the drafting stages of a planning application, the mere absence of a proper noun is making for very turgid and potentially unclear drafting (‘the proposals’… ‘the Beyond Green scheme’…’it’, etc).
After much debate we’ve decided to adopt the working title of ‘North Sprowston and Old Catton’ to provide the temporary proper name we now feel the scheme needs. We hope this moniker is a reasonable working title for the purposes of planning – it has the virtue of being geographically accurate and illustrates our belief that any new development can and must integrate with established neighbouring communities.
The real name(s) for this place will be something that comes, over time, from a mix of local consciousness and the place’s intrinsic qualities (‘Little Denmark’ would do…); and if there is to be a formal name if and when the scheme becomes a real, live development we would hope that it could come from a more exciting process – such as a schools competition – than a bunch of us sitting around a table on a Wednesday morning.