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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
300,000 homes for 'growth areas'
Milton Keynes
The expansion is "too much" for Milton Keynes
More than 300,000 new houses need to be built in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire over the next 30 years to cope with regional growth, says a report.

The government-backed report says 8.3 billion needs to be spent in funding the major growth of towns - including Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton and Corby.

These have been targeted by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as "economic growth areas" which need much more affordable housing.

The document is aimed at making recommendations on how the area should grow in the future.

It predicts that up to 48,000 homes will be needed in Northampton, 30,000 in Luton and 70,000 in Milton Keynes.

New Homes?
Bedford 30,000
Corby 27,000
Kettering 28,000
Luton 30,000
Milton Keynes 70,000
Northampton 48,000
Wellingborough 24,000

Mike Gwilliam, director of planning for the South-East Regional Assembly, said some of the county's green belt will have to go, to cope with the demand for housing.

"There will be people unhappy. We have put an emphasis on as much brownfield [urban] development as we can," he said.

"All of this is over 30 years. It will be gradual change, we will not see something overnight."

Bill Brisbane, project director of the study, said: "By concentrating growth and development in the urban areas, rural areas will be protected from sporadic development...

"It will require substantial support from government to achieve the scale of investment required and the quality of development needed."

Plans in the report - the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Study - for expanding the new town of Milton Keynes with an estimated 60,000 new homes have already come under fire.

'Too much'

Milton Keynes Borough Council leader Isobel Wilson said she was concerned at the number of homes said to be needed.

She said the council already had a local plan to build 2,000 new homes a year up until 2011, and slightly less for a few years afterwards.

"Now we are happy to build 2,000 a year for the first few years - we're already planning to do that.

"But we think that to do that in a prolonged period of activity for 30 years is too much for the borough to cope with."

The study will be considered by the three regional planning bodies involved, which will then decide what their strategy should be.


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See also:

18 Jul 02 | Politics
16 Jul 02 | Business
18 Jul 02 | UK
15 Jul 02 | Politics
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