D-Day for home-building blueprint

MEMBERS of councils from across the East of England are due to meet today to finalise details about the building of hundreds of thousands of new houses in the region.

By Roddy Ashworth

MEMBERS of councils from across the East of England are due to meet today to finalise details about the building of hundreds of thousands of new houses in the region.

But yesterday it was warned the two-year process of allocating homes in counties and districts in the area could be thrown into turmoil after central Government asked for yet another 18,500 properties to be built.

Around 100 members of the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) are today due to approve guidelines on where to build an extra 23,900 houses per year over a 20-year period.


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The move aims to meet increasing demand for homes in the south of England which could otherwise cause the property market to overheat and damage the economy.

It would see the completion of a report called Regional Planning Guidance 14 (RPG14), which would allocate numbers of houses to each area and identify the infrastructure needed to support them.

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Recently, however, Government minister Jeff Rooker declared that as well as the proposed homes he wanted to see around 18,500 more allocated for the London-Stansted-Cambridge growth corridor.

These additional homes had not been accounted for in the original allocation, but Lord Rooker said he expected RPG14 to be submitted at the same time.

Some politicians in Essex have expressed concern, claiming that other members of EERA might force through a decision which would leave the county having to build most of the additional homes within its borders.

Essex is already expected to build 130,000 new homes as a result of RPG14, despite local protestations it can only cope with an extra 110,000.

But yesterday a spokesman dismissed the worries, although he said Lord Rooker's requirement for thousands of additional homes could scupper RPG14's progress.

"I'm sure some will be in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire as well as Essex.

"But we are still at a very early stage with these 18,500 extra homes and the infrastructure they will need.

"Everybody is very unhappy. It's difficult to predict what will happen at the EERA meeting.

"It's possible it could kick out the entire plan as it is now."

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