Cash boost to create new homes and jobs

MILLIONS of pounds are to be ploughed into the region to help create thousands of new homes and jobs, it was revealed yesterday. The Haven Gateway Partnership - which covers parts of Essex and Suffolk - has been given £5.

MILLIONS of pounds are to be ploughed into the region to help create thousands of new homes and jobs, it was revealed yesterday.

The Haven Gateway Partnership - which covers parts of Essex and Suffolk - has been given £5.5 million funding from the Government for “start-up funding”, as it bids to reach a target of building nearly 23,000 homes in the next decade.

It was one of 29 new “growth points” across the country given cash to help more first-time buyers onto the housing ladder while encouraging business development.

Haven Gateway - which takes its name from the ports of Harwich, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Mistley - was established in 2001 and includes the whole of Colchester, Tendring and Ipswich as well as the rural parts of south east Suffolk and the Shotley peninsula.

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Yesterday the Government claimed a third of 10-year-olds won't be able to afford to buy their own home in 20 years unless more homes are built.

The funding, warmly welcomed as a boost for the area, will be used to support infrastructure, “unlock sites for housing” and assess and mitigate against environmental impacts.

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Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “This is great news for Colchester and confirms that the borough is one of the places the Government wants to work with for growth in the long-term.

“Colchester is due to grow significantly over the coming years and it is absolutely crucial that this happens in a way that is good for our current and future communities - that's what being a prestigious regional centre is all about.”

Terry Allen, Tendring District Council leader, said the partnership had been a Tendring initiative that had grown beyond its wildest dreams.

“It is a huge step in the right direction towards addressing the need for further economic regeneration and creating local jobs for local people,” he said.

Eddy Alcock, the councillor responsible for economic development for Suffolk County Council said: “I am delighted that the region has been highlighted as an area of growth and look forward to working with the partners of the Haven Gateway to further promote the future prosperity of the area.”

Further Government funding is set to be allocated in the coming years.

The growth point initiative was launched at the end of last year to provide funding and support for local communities looking for sustainable growth.

It will help provide the necessary infrastructure such as community facilities, roads and schools.

More than 20 proposals were received earlier this year from more than 50 local authorities across the country.

George Courtauld, chairman of the Haven Gateway said: “Our vision for the Haven Gateway is that it will deliver a high quality environment for its residents, workers and visitors, by capitalising on its location as a key gateway, realising its potential for significant sustainable growth, addressing its need for economic regeneration, creating an additional focus for growth of high-tech, knowledge-based employment and protecting and enhancing its high quality, attractive natural assets.”

The growth plans for the gateway area include:

n 23,000 new jobs and 29,600 new houses by 2016 with a target of 40% being affordable homes;

n New container terminal facilities at the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe handing over 3.6m containers every year.

n An international visual arts centre at Colchester.

n The redevelopment of the Ipswich waterfront including a new university campus for Suffolk.

n The regeneration of Jaywick, near Clacton.

n Maximising the role of the sub region as an international gateway to the UK.

n Projects to enhance the sub region's role as an area of creativity and innovation.

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