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Population boom predicted for county

PUBLISHED: 17:15 01 June 2002 | UPDATED: 15:27 03 March 2010

OVER the next eight years, the population of Suffolk will increase by almost 35,000 equivalent to the number of people living in a small town.

Data released by the Office of National Statistics predicted the number of residents living in the county was expected to rise by 5.

OVER the next eight years, the population of Suffolk will increase by almost 35,000 equivalent to the number of people living in a small town.

Data released by the Office of National Statistics predicted the number of residents living in the county was expected to rise by 5.1 per cent, from 684,100 to 714,900 between 2000 and 2010.

But Suffolk County Council leader Jane Hore was confident it would be able to cope with the influx of new people.

"We have got the structure plan which takes us through until 2016. Within that there are housing needs predictions and I would imagine that these are based on the same data as the Office of National Statistics is using," she said.

"I think we recognise that over the last few years, Suffolk is a place people want to come and live, but we have to mindful that parts of the county are growing faster than others.

"In terms of economic activity, we are aware that a lot of what is going on in Cambridge is already slipping into the west of the county."

County councillor Wil Gibson, who is also chief executive of rural charity Suffolk Acre, which tackles the economic, social and environmental needs of the county, warned housing planners against ignoring village communities in the future.

"If we are not careful, then most of the growth will be around the main urban areas of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds," he said.

"People who move here to live in the country will push house prices up and those living in villages will be squeezed out. The volume of growth has to be spread across Suffolk."

Increasing the population of some smaller villages would not have a detrimental impact on the countryside, according to Mr Gibson.

He added: "The structure and local plans that the county council and local authorities make take into account environmental considerations.

Nationally, the population of England should increase from just under 50 million in 2000 to 51.9 million in 2010.

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