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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Public hearings end on homes plan
Housing development
Hundreds of thousands of new homes are a major part of the plan
Four months of public hearings into plans for new housing and jobs which will affect eight million people in south-east England have come to an end.

Three independent planning inspectors have heard evidence and held debates over the South East Plan in Woking, Chichester, Maidstone and Reading.

They are due to submit their findings to the government this summer.

The South East Plan sets out a 20-year vision for the region, including the building of 28,900 new homes a year.

It covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

The Examination in Public hearings discussed all aspects of the plan - house building, jobs and the economy, transport, the environment, waste disposal and social issues.

578,000 new homes - suggested numbers per county each year
Berkshire - 2,620
Buckinghamshire - 4,040
East Sussex - 1,900
Hampshire - 6,100
Isle of Wight - 520
Kent - 6,100
Oxfordshire - 2,360
Surrey - 2,360
West Sussex - 2,900

The South East England Regional Assembly (Seera) said hundreds of people from different organisations had offered their views.

Public consultation on the plan was carried out before the draft document was handed in to the government a year ago.

The panel of inspectors concluded its hearings on Friday and will now report on any changes that might need to be made.

Groups like Friends of the Earth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the South Downs Campaign have called for pollution reduction targets to be set, and for the countryside to be protected by using as much brownfield land as possible for new housing.

Infrastructure to support new homes is also a high priority, with Councillor Keith Mitchell, Seera's chairman, saying: "If ministers are serious about tackling the pressures on housing, they must work with us to determine how to finance the investment we need in roads, rail, water supply and sewerage, as well as schools and hospitals."


SEE ALSO
Decision over new homes' location
07 Dec 05 |  Oxfordshire
New home figures set by assembly
13 Jul 05 |  England
Call for changes to housing plan
13 Jun 05 |  England

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