Green light for 508,000 new homes

THE Government today approved plans for more than half a million homes are to be built across the six counties of the East of England in the next 13 years - and is insisting that 35% of them are “affordable.

Graham Dines

THE Government today approved plans for more than half a million homes to be built across the six counties of the East of England in the next 13 years - and is insisting that 35% of them are “affordable.”

In approving the East of England Plan for the six counties of Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, ministers pledged money for hospitals, schools, leisure centres, transport and roads to cater for the surge in housing and new employment.

More than £142m will be invested in the next three years to support growth around the main cities and towns including Cambridge, Peterborough, Stevenage, Harlow, and the growth points at Norwich, Colchester, Ipswich and Thetford.

Chelmsford, St Edmundsbury, Dacorum (Hemel Hempstead), St Albans, and Welwyn Hatfield are to be growth areas with £28m of additional funding confirmed, and King's Lynn has been confirmed as a growth point.

Communities Minister, Parmjit Dhanda, said: “The East of England needs a long term vision for delivering much needed sustainable growth that tackles climate change, address its housing shortages and strengthens the region's economy.

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“Beyond the short term squeeze of the credit crunch our population is still ageing and more people are choosing to live alone, meaning new households are growing faster than new homes. If more homes are not built now the housing ladder will get even further out of reach leaving the next generation with nowhere to live.

“This plan is a big step forward in addressing the demands in the East of England. It will deliver the affordable housing, better transport networks, stronger environmental protections and new jobs that the region needs.”

Extra cash to support additional development has been announced for Chelmsford (£11m), St Edmundsbury (£4.8m) Norwich (£12m), Thetford (£6m), and Colchester and Ipswich (£17.5m).

The next steps are for the region's local authorities and delivery bodies to implement the policies of the East of England Plan through the ongoing programme of growth areas, growth points and local development frameworks and through individual development decisions.

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