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South East Assemly calls on Treasury for infrastructure cash

Increased investment in South East infrastructure, affordable housing and public services is vital to support continued growth in the region, the South East England Regional Assembly has told the government.

In letters to chancellor Alistair Darling and the Government Office for the South East, the Assembly argues that if house building in the region is to increase 10% to 32,000 homes a year, as recommended by independent planning inspectors, then there needs to be more funding for transport, schools, parks and utilities.

The lettersfollow on from a report from independent planning inspectors on the Assembly's 20-year vision for the region, the South East Plan. The letters aim to inform Government decisions on any changes it feels are necessary to the Plan in light of the inspectors' recommendations.

Inspectors supported the need for timely infrastructure, so the Government is being pressed to recognise that:

- Without supporting investment, growth can create intolerable pressure on services and the environment and puts quality of life at risk

- If the inspector-supported affordable housing target of 35% is accepted by Government, then there will have to be a significant increase in funding for this area

- "Affordability" in the housing market is a complex issue and will not be solved by simply increasing the number of houses built

- Majorgreenfieldbuilding will be required to deliver the extra homes, meaning new costly infrastructure will be needed in these areas to provide services to householders.

Assembly Chairman, Councillor Mitchell said: "We have been working with Government and its agencies to improve the planning of infrastructure investment, to find innovative ways to make public money go further and improve public resources through the private sector. However it is Government who holds the key to unlock the caged potential of the South East through increased funding for transport, schools, health facilities and community infrastructure."

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