Essex MP in new homes fear

AN ESSEX MP has said plans for more than 100,000 new homes should not be going ahead unless the region's roads are significantly upgraded.

James Hore

AN ESSEX MP has said plans for more than 100,000 new homes should not be going ahead unless the region's roads are significantly upgraded.

It emerged this week that the Government wants to build 508,000 houses and create 452,000 new jobs in the East of England over the next 13 years.

Colchester, Chelmsford and Braintree will be at the heart of what one minister described as a “dynamic” region.

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Extra cash has been pledged to ensure that more hospitals, schools, leisure centres, and roads across the six counties - Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - are built.

The Chelmsford/Braintree area has been designated as one of five new growth areas and will be sharing £28million.

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But Simon Burns, the Conservative MP for West Chelmsford, said he was concerned that his town's infrastructure would be “stretched to the limit”.

He said: “Although I recognise the urgent need for an increase in house building within the East of England, to help alleviate the pressure on those people who are currently struggling to get a foot on the ladder of the housing market, I worry that with the continual delays on the A12, and the constant strain on local services, a large injection of housing will only place added pressure on what is already a congested system.

“I also believe that elected local authorities, like Chelmsford Borough Council, should identify and determine what new housing should be built rather than having Whitehall order the numbers they want by diktat from on high.

“I have previously been reassured that 35% of the new house building in Chelmsford is to be affordable homes and, with the desperate need for affordable housing in the area, I do hope this will go some way to lessening the load on housing waiting lists but, before any of these new plans are implemented, it is essential that vital infrastructure systems are not threatened because these are the bedrock of a secure society.

“The Government must ensure that local services can cope before placing any extra stress on them and in their present state I worry that, without further commitments to improve facilities, like the A12, the current proposals will be far from sufficient”

The Department for Communities approved the East of England Plan this week, saying it would “deliver a vision for continuing growth and spreading prosperity to all communities in a planned and sustainable way over the next two decades”.

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