Blueprint for the East unveiled

A RADICAL blueprint for the East of England has been approved by the Government, which will see the region grow by 508,000 homes and create 452,000 new jobs in the next 13 years.

A RADICAL blueprint for the East of England has been approved by the Government, which will see the region grow by 508,000 homes and create 452,000 new jobs in the next 13 years.

Ipswich, St Edmundsbury, Colchester and Chelmsford will be at the heart of the expansion plans and ministers have pledged extra cash to ensure that more hospitals, schools, leisure centres, and roads across the six counties are built and public transport approved.

The Department for Communities, which approved the East of England Plan, said 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.”

All the housing, infrastructure and employment should be in place by 2021.

Publication of the plan follows public consultation and months of independent examination by Government appointed inspectors. Its aim is to co-ordinate housing and jobs growth that will help the region tackle homelessness and housing affordability.

Latest statistical projections showed that “new households are expected to grow by 30,500 a year up to 2021 in the region which means housing provision needs to accelerate to keep up with demand. The document puts in place a timetable to deliver 508,000 more homes (25,400 a year) and new jobs to hit 452,000 by 2021.

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Barbara Follett, the minister appointed to look after the interests of the region in Whitehall, said: “This is very good news for everyone living in the East of England.

“Our region is dynamic. Not all growth in England should in London or Birmingham, and we should be up there with the other regions when it comes to investment.

“The Government has approved the plan and announced a major injection of money into the East of England. We now expect the regional development agency to drive it forward and ensure there is joined-up thinking across the region.”

Suffolk county councillor Guy McGregor, who chairs the East of England regional assembly's transport said it was too early to say if the extra cash would be sufficient.

“If Suffolk is going to meet central governments housing targets, local authorities will have to ensure that the housing needs are balanced with the necessary sustainability infrastructure such as roads, railway improvements, additional school places, modern health facilities.”

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