WARNING bells that Essex could be threatened with even more news homes than currently feared have been sounded by the East of England Regional Assembly.
`by backing a government plan to impose another 131,000 homes on Essex before 2021 – 20,000 more than the county itself said was the limit that could be sustained.
Now it has balked at what it sees as the possible impact of the recent Treasury-backed Barker Report, which, says EERA, could double the rate of new house building in the east of England counties and has written to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott telling him so.
The report, compiled by economist Kate Barker, suggested that in order to curb the upward trend in house prices, and to bring the UK in line with the EU average, it would be necessary to build between 70,000 and 120,000 new homes annually throughout England.
Sue Sida-Lockett, chairman of EERA, said: “While the assembly recognises many of the problems Kate Barker describes in her report we believe important decisions on housing must be made in a sensible way, with full local involvement and buy-in, which take into account the diverse regional needs of the East of England.”
The assembly wants the Government to spell Delegate fund out exactly what it is now planning to do and is warning that there must be a much higher funding for necessary infrastructure.
Green light for green belt homes
Massive housebuilding plans for the green belt in London and the South-East were given the goahead by Tony Blair today.
In his strongest words on the issue to date, the Prime Minister said demand for new homes was so great it would be irresponsible to rule out specific tracts of land for development.
Mr Blair said at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons: “There is requirement for additional housing, and if we don’t face up to decisions on that, the people who will suffer will be generations to come, particularly first-time buyers.”
His remarks came in response to Tory housing shadow John Hayes, who claimed that the Government’s stance on housebuilding on protected green belt land had been “evasive”. Ministers are worried about an electoral backlash if they are seen to be giving the green light to concreting over beauty spots.
Labour came to power promising to protect greenfield sites and insisted that more than 80 per cent of new housing in the Thames Gateway area would be on brownfield urban sites.
Under one scheme being considered, swathes of Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire are earmarked for 200,000 new homes.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott wants 120,000 built in the Thames Gateway area. In Milton Keynes, the M11 corridor and Ashford, Kent, half could be on greenfield sites.