Shock at new housing demand in East

A TOWN the size of Haverhill will have to be built every year between now and 2026 to absorb the number of houses the Government is demanding are provided in the East of England.

A TOWN the size of Haverhill will have to be built every year between now and 2026 to absorb the number of houses the Government is demanding are provided in the East of England.

Campaigners have reacted with dismay at revised projections yesterday from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's department which show that the number of households required in the region will rise from 2,286,000 in 2003 to 2,926,000 in 20026 - an increase of 27,800 a year.

Across England, the number of homes will have to rise from 20,904,000 to 25,713,000, a year-on-year increase between 2003 and 2026 of 209,000. The bulk of those will be needed in London, the East, South East and South West.

One of the main reasons from the jump is the number of people choosing to buy a property and live in it on their own - one person households account for 150,000 of the 209,000 annual England-wide growth figures.


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Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council, described the projections as “a nightmare”. He said Essex could not cope with the previous demand of 130,000 extra homes in the period to 2016 and wanted the number reduced to 110,000.

“It's utterly ludicrous to demand more housing when we don't have the roads, railways, hospitals, and water resources to service them,” said Lord Hanningfield. “Chelmsford station is already six deep on the platform during rush hour.

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“The infrastructure in the East of England is overloaded and we can't take much more - and where are we going to find the people to build these properties?”

Lord Hanningfield added: “It's crazy that houses are being knocked down in the north of England while in the south of the country, the demand for housing is going up. Government policy is encouraging migration from one part of the country to another which just cannot cope with the demand.”

Richard Spring, MP for Suffolk West, admitted there was a demand for housing, but said local authorities should determine the number rather than the being imposed in a top down demand from Whitehall.

“This is a centralising Government which thinks that simply clicking its fingers will produce thousands of new homes. It's about time ministers realised that our part of the world needs roads and schools to service these households - who is going to pay for them?”

Neil Sinden, policy director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: 'We do need more homes to cope with a growing population. But we cannot use these projections as instructions for the number of new homes that have to be built in England over the next 20 years.

“We must take into account the environmental impacts of housebuilding, and think about this issue in the same way as we think about the growth in aviation and road traffic.

“In one of the world's most built-up, densely-populated developed nations, environmental protection must be part of the equation.”

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