Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 17:05 UK

Major new homes plan reconsidered

House building
Some 29,623 homes would need to be built in the region annually

The government has announced it is to rethink plans to build more than half a million new homes in the South West region of England.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West (RSSSW) proposed 592,460 new homes to meet official predictions of housing needs for the next 20 years.

But the plans have met with significant opposition.

The government now says it wants to ensure the RSSSW is the "most sustainable way forward".

Negative response

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) had hoped to sign off the plan by June of this year.

But in May the High Court ruled it had not considered "reasonable alternatives" to some proposals in the South East of England.

And officials have acknowledged they have been influenced by the "unprecedented level" of opposition.

Some 35,000 responses were received during the RSSSW public consultation - the majority negative.

A GOSW statement said it would now carry out a new appraisal to ensure the current blueprints "represent the most sustainable way forward for the region".

'Partial victory'

Chris Pope, co-chairman of the Dundry Residents Action Group, which campaigns against building on greenbelt land in North Somerset, said: "In some ways I view this as a partial victory.

"We've always questioned the government's figures.

"Their expectations of population growth seem extortionately high.

"But from our point of view, the problem has not gone away."

The results are not expected to come in before early next year.

Ministers will then have to decide whether to scale down the South West's housing targets.

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