A builder who’s having to sell his house to save his business has slammed Norfolk’s district councils for prioritising large construction companies in deals to end a deadlock on new homes.

The 43 year-old, who doesn’t want to be named, said eco rules blocking new homes from being built in large areas of the county were threatening to bankrupt his business, which is based near Wroxham.

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He said: “As a small local builder I’m on a knife's edge.

“I’ve had to cash in my pension and sell my family home to keep the business going - I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

“All our money is tied up in the land we bought before these regulations came in.”

The controversial 'nutrient neutrality' rules were introduced after Natural England raised concerns that extra nutrients created by homes was ending up in waterways and harming species.

Dereham Times: Concerns were raised over the impact of nutrients on the BroadsConcerns were raised over the impact of nutrients on the Broads (Image: Newsquest)

To try and end the deadlock, council bosses launched a scheme through which housebuilders will be able to 'offset' the impact of developments by buying 'credits' to fund mitigation measures. 

But while the project leaders claim small businesses are a priority, they add that their initial focus has to be on striking deals with big firms.

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Phil Courtier, who’s heading up the project, said: “We’re a new company and so to establish financial security the first three to four deals will be with big companies.

“After that, credits will be available for smaller companies that require a smaller number to get their developments built.

“We’re working on putting a solution in place but there needs to be a degree of patience as we work through such a large number of applications.”

The explanation has bought little comfort for small business owners. 

One said: “It doesn’t make sense to me that it’s not being done on a first come first served basis.

“Big developers can afford to sit on land banks, it's the small firms that are in real trouble.

“Nothing about it feels fair.”