06/05/2004

Spellar announces review of housing development

Regional Development Minister, John Spellar today launched a four-month consultation period on the distribution of future housing development across Northern Ireland.

Describing the consultation as another important stage in the implementation of the Regional Development Strategy (RDS), the Minister said the location of new housing would have a strong influence on the future growth pattern and economy of the region.

"I am determined that we should manage this growth in a sustainable way that meets the needs of all the people," Mr Spellar said.

"The RDS made an assessment of the regional housing need for the period 1998-2015 and indicated that assessments will be updated at five-yearly intervals to avoid problems arising from either over provision or under provision.

"The four-month period of consultation which commences today is a key element in the reassessment process of the Regional Housing Growth Indicators for District Council areas.

"These Indicators provide guidance on the distribution of future housing development across Northern Ireland and are important considerations when preparing new development plans."

The Regional Development Strategy was published with the approval of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 20 September 2001.

Future housing distribution guidance is set out in the form of housing growth indicators, designed to secure a balance between the Belfast Metropolitan Area and its hinterland, and the rest of the Region, and to give guidance at the local level.

The aim is to ensure the future pattern of housing, and its critical relationships with employment, transport and the environment, are managed within the principles of sustainable development to secure the maximum benefits for all the people.

(MB)

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