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Housing - Djanogly Attacks Prescott's Call for more building in the South East


19th July 2002

Jonathan Djanogly today attacked the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott MP, for his statement yesterday that he will accelerate proposals for significant growth in four areas in the South East, including the 'London-Stansted-Cambridge area'.

Jonathan Djanogly, the Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency, today attacked the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott MP, for his statement yesterday that he will accelerate proposals for significant growth in four areas in the South East, including the 'London-Stansted-Cambridge area'. Mr Prescott estimated that "at least 200,000 new homes could be created in growth areas".

As part of his proposals to speed up the building process of affordable housing, Mr Prescott's plans include: his intervening in planning applications for housing that involves a density of less than 30 dwellings per hectare, abolishing county structure plans, and speeding up the Inspector's inquiry process.

Mr Djanogly said:

"With a population increase over 10% and a jobs increase of 24% over the last 10 years, I and our local councils fully appreciate that new housing is required. Indeed, if anyone looks around the towns and villages of my constituency, the huge number of new homes and streets show clearly that the need for new housing has not been ignored. However, once again, the Labour Government, having seen a housing shortage, are creating reactive policy off the back foot, in particular;

  • Central planning dictats from Mr Prescott in Whitehall, over the heads of local council's plans, must be resisted;
  • Mr Prescott refused to say, when asked by James Paice MP, whether new housing targets would be brought in on top of those agreed in the Cambridgeshire Structure Plan (which already provides for 60,000 new homes to be built by 2016);
  • Government policy is targeted at building homes for newcomers to the South East, showing the abject failure of Labour's national regional policy to encourage development in the North East and North West (where thousands of council homes lie empty);
  • South Eastern areas, such as Huntingdonshire, have responded to the need to build houses - it is the Government that has failed to match new houses with increased investment in local public services such as roads, health, schools, social services and police. In April 2002, Lord Sainsbury, a Government Minister, admitted that Cambridgeshire needed £2 billion of public funds to remain "a world class location" for business - and that was before any further home building ordered by Mr Prescott.

The Government want to have their cake and eat it - they want South Eastern areas, such as Huntingdonshire, to build more homes to get them out of their fix caused by people leaving Labour's own Northern heartlands in droves, whilst not being prepared to invest in the public services necessary ro support our already under funded communities. Labour are acting disgracefully and must not be allowed to get away with this."



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