15/10/2004

Green light given for 500,000 new homes in east England

The green light has today been given for the construction of just under 500,000 new homes in the east of England, it has been confirmed today.

Up to 478,000 new homes required to meet affordable housing needs of key workers and the economic growth of the region will be built in the area by 2021, the East of England Regional Planning Panel agreed at a meeting in Cambridge today.

The new homes will be built across six counties – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

However, the assembly has rejected calls from the government that an additional 18,000 houses should be built in the London-Stansted-Cambridge-Peterborough corridor.

Feedback from a number of independent environmental and economic studies commissioned has suggested that the case has not yet been adequately made for those additional houses, the assembly stated.

The panel also warned against unsustainable development and called for the government to fund essential infrastructure improvement.

In a statement the panel said: "Having now agreed to deliver a major step change in housing development, including more affordable housing, we look forward to the government supporting the strategy through the early provision of essential infrastructure.”

The Regional Spatial Strategy will now be submitted to a meeting of the full Regional Assembly on November 5, before being submitted to the Office Of The Deputy Prime Minister which will kick off a 14-week public consultation period.

Final agreement on the strategy is expected in 2006.

(gmcg/mb)

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