East to get £10bn boost

PLANS to inject £10billion into the East of England economy by building 160,000 houses and creating 150,000 jobs in six towns - including Ipswich and Colchester - have been endorsed by the Government.

PLANS to inject £10billion into the East of England economy by building 160,000 houses and creating 150,000 jobs in six towns - including Ipswich and Colchester - have been endorsed by the Government.

Most of the housing will be built on previously developed land, protecting the countryside while at the same time reducing the region's carbon footprint by reducing the impact of commuting.

And now the blueprint is in place, it is hoped the money will pour into the region as developments get the go-ahead.

Local Government Minister Phil Woolas MP has told Regional Cities East (RCE) - the umbrella organisation co-ordinating the project - that the business case gives the region “an exciting future”.


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It means around a third of the 500,000 new homes earmarked for the region by 2021 in the East of England plan will be built in six towns - Ipswich, Colchester, Southend-on-Sea, Norwich, Peterborough and Luton. That could potentially save some areas of countryside from development.

The councils in those areas will co-operate and attract new jobs rather than compete against each other. The RCE has also called for a regional team of trouble-shooters to fast track key urban developments.

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Mr Woolas said: “Building a partnership of the six RCE cities and towns offers the potential for small and medium cities working together to drive economic development and promote more employment and housing growth in the region in a sustainable manner.”

Ipswich's Labour MP Chris Mole said the project would create sustainable development and carbon neutral living.

“The Government recognises that it is the urban centres which will shape the future of the region. Working together, they will encourage housing and promote the jobs to support them.”

Mike Crouch, RCE's director and an executive director of Colchester Borough Council, said the region's largest urban centres were under pressure to accommodate extra development.

“It might seem obvious to everyone that co-operation is the way forward, but local authorities have traditionally competed against each other. This project signals the will of local politicians of all parties in the six authorities to work together with a common purpose.

“We believe we can build more homes and create more jobs if we collaborate rather than compete for inward investment. This ministerial support will kick start a delivery programme that will bring about a more prosperous and sustainable East of England,” said Mr Crouch.

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