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New setback for government's South East homes plan

GOVERNMENT housebuilding plans for the South East suffered another setback this week, when a regional assembly withdrew its backing.

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) voted to suspend its endorsement of plans for 478,000 homes in the region by 2021. It expressed 'outrage' over funding allocations for transport schemes announced last week.

EERA wants assurances from the government on increased infrastructure investment before it reinstates its support.

'The assembly was originally cajoled into supporting the massive scale of development on the promise of funding to support a step change in infrastructure investment, especially on the roads, ' said Conservative member Michael Janes.

Hertfordshire County Council environment cabinet member Derrick Ashley added: 'We welcome EERA's recognition that the proposals are unworkable without the proper infrastructure to support this level of growth.

'We have repeatedly expressed our concern about the pressure this level of extra housing will put on our already overstretched road and rail network in Hertfordshire - the most densely populated county in the country.'

EERA's reversal follows the South East Regional Assembly's backing for a scaled-down version of development plans, cutting 80,000 homes from the requirement (NCE 2 December).

South East members said 'creaking infrastructure' needed investment before homes were built.

The deputy prime minister's office will make the final decision on the plans.

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