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Regional Spatial Strategy

Monday, 6th October 2008.

The East of England Regional Assembly's Regional Planning Panel is currently considering the next steps in responding to the Government's call for more housing in the region by asking county councils to advise them on future growth levels.

Central Government says there is insufficient new housing being planned in the country to meet future needs and is looking to the East of England to accommodate a share of the additional housing required. In turn the East of England Regional Assembly, has asked Suffolk County Council to undertake some work to consider how many homes the county could accommodate.

The review principally covers the issue of increasing the annual housing provision from now until 2031. For Suffolk the range of housing provision that we have to look at for the next thirty years, from 2001-31, is likely to be between 93,000 (a continuation of present growth rates) and 132,000 dwellings (the Government's proposed figure). This compares with 61,700 over the twenty years 2001-21 in the current strategy.

Councillor Eddy Alcock, portfolio holder for environment and waste management, who attended today's meeting as the county council's representative, said, "We are very concerned at the high levels of new housing the Government is proposing for the region and potentially for Suffolk. Suffolk County Council will be working with colleagues in the districts and boroughs to test what this would mean for Suffolk.

"We are also concerned at the tight timescale we have been given for this work by EERA. We have been asked to provide advice by January. We are planning a workshop for councillors from all authorities in Suffolk in October and will be taking a paper to Cabinet in January.

"The advice we send back to EERA in January will provide the opportunity for Suffolk to say very clearly what it thinks of the proposed housing growth and how this fits with our ideas for the future development of Suffolk."

It is intended that there should be full public consultation on any proposals that EERA produces in mid-2009.

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