We must back the plans for housing

THE East of England Plan, setting out a scheme to build more than 35,000 new homes in Comet country by 2021, was made publicly available this week. Between 2001 and 2021, a total of 16,000 new dwellings will be built in Stevenage, 6,200 will be establishe

THE East of England Plan, setting out a scheme to build more than 35,000 new homes in Comet country by 2021, was made publicly available this week.

Between 2001 and 2021, a total of 16,000 new dwellings will be built in Stevenage, 6,200 will be established in North Herts and 14,230 will be built in Mid Beds.

There will, inevitably, be many who will throw their hands up in horror at the prospect of dense housing developments swallowing up open spaces, but I support the plans.

There is currently a housing shortage which must be addressed. At the moment, in Stevenage alone, there are 3,500 people on the housing list and 250 families staying in bed and breakfast accommodation.


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The Plan includes a high percentage of affordable housing, which we are in desperate need of in this area. Many first time buyers cannot afford to buy in Comet country. Not only are first time buyers unable to move to the area, but children who want to fly the nest of their parents' home are being driven out of the area to buy where they can afford. What is the point of having a green and pleasant land if your children can't enjoy it?

The Plan includes job growth targets, and new skills will be brought to the area, as well as new money.

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Plans to improve or expand services, including transport networks, the water infrastructure, waste management, and even cemeteries, should ensure services do not suffer from the extra pressure brought by a larger population.

The plans for additional housing were also factored into the decision to centralise acute and emergency services at Lister Hospital, and not the QEII, so theoretically our hospital service will be able to cope with the increase in population.

We should resist the temptation to dig our heels in without just cause.

The Plan promises to deliver housing developments which are well designed and built, and environmentally sensitive.

If it becomes evident the promises outlined in the Plan are not, or will not, be fulfilled, then that is the time to kick up a fuss.

But we need to evolve and should grasp the chance for regeneration and growth. The alternative is to stagnate and stand in the shadows of other regions as they advance and develop.

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