Millions pledged for community schemes

A MULTI-million pound funding package for new roads and community schemes was last night announced by the Government.

A MULTI-million pound funding package for new roads and community schemes was last night announced by the Government.

Community leaders welcomed the £144million pledged to the region by housing minister Margaret Beckett, which will be spent on new the infrastructure needed to accommodate the 121,000 new homes earmarked for the region by 2016.

Under the scheme over the next two years the Haven Gateway, which includes Ipswich, Harwich, Mistley and Felixstowe, will receive more than £12million while St Edmundsbury will get £3.8million.

Chelmsford and Braintree will receive more than £8.7m, Bedford more than £16.2m and Harlow and Stansted more than £14.2m. Other areas to benefit include Norwich with £11.2m and Thetford more than £6m.

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Margaret Beckett, housing minister, said: “In these difficult economic times we must not lose sight of the long-term need to build more homes.

“Yet if the support for these new homes is not in place, their construction will be delayed when we need them most, hampering the economy's recovery.

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“This means we need to be investing today in tomorrow's infrastructure, while allowing local authorities to decide their own local priorities for spending this money. Today's announcement delivers on both fronts.”

George Kieffer, chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership welcomed the announcement, which he said was £750,000 more than they were expecting.

He said: “Over the next few months, the partnership will be allocating this funding in accordance with the priorities identified in our Integrated Development Programme published last week.”

Chris Mole MP for Ipswich said he was “delighted” at the announcement: “This government funding will ensure that when ambitious targets for new housing are met, the communities built will be full of all the services that communities need to thrive, like schools, hospitals and transport links.”

Terry Clements, St Edmundsbury's cabinet member with responsibility for transport and planning, said: “This funding will help us to plan for sustainable development in the borough as well as deliver much needed new infrastructure which will benefit everyone who lives, works and visits the borough.”

New homes planned by 2016:

Haven Gateway: 28,800

Chelmsford and Braintree: 19,250

Thetford: 7,800

St Edmundsbury: 7,900

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