Growth towns in east to lose millions

MILLIONS of pounds earmarked for the region's growth towns including Ipswich have been switched to a national house building fund, it emerged today.

MILLIONS of pounds earmarked for the region's growth towns including Ipswich have been switched to a national house building fund, it emerged today.

Ministers have been accused of taking away vital resources from towns and cities in the east, with regional leaders labelling the move a “huge mistake”.

A letter has been sent from the East of England regional assembly to Communities Secretary John Denham, expressing “grave disappointment” at the government's decision to switch �30million from growth areas to a national housing fund.

Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich, Peterborough, and Chelmsford are expected to be worst hit.


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Ministers have announced they have �1 billion to inject into building projects that have stalled in the recession.

The cash is being targeted at developers and housing associations which can get developments back under way by the end of the year but cannot get funding from elsewhere.

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Projects include the Crest Nicholson 95-home development at Hayhill allotment, for which Crest Nicholson has requested more than �3.5m. The firm is also bidding for �305,000 to go towards a 93-home development in Stowmarket.

Housing minister John Healey said: “I want to see builders back on these sites within weeks so I will be calling on successful developers to pull out all the stops so construction can restart as quickly as possible.”

The government announcement comes at the same time as the regional assembly chairman John Reynolds claims ministers “are in danger of promoting housing growth without adequate transport links, employment opportunities and social infrastructure”.

He said axing money from the Haven Gateways partnership of Ipswich, Felixstowe, Colchester and Harwich while asking the region to consider building thousands of new homes over the next 20 years “would be a huge mistake”.

He added: “This is a short-sighted proposal by government and it should urgently reconsider.”

What do you think of the proposals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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