John Prescott was today unveiling moves to speed up dramatically the supply of new homes – while vowing to protect the green belt from development.
The Deputy Prime Minister, in a key speech, was outlining how the extra millions allocated by Chancellor Gordon Brown will be used to tackle the housing crisis.
But he must also explain how he will avoid creating dormitory towns across the South-East, with critics already concerned at the apparent lack of funding for new schools, roads and hospitals.
Mr Prescott’s department yesterday won an extra £1.3 billion for the next three years, meaning it will be spending £7.2 billion a year on housing across the UK by 2007.
This gives it the financial clout to subsidise private developers to build the 200,000 homes that have been earmarked in four “growth areas” in the South-East – the Thames Gateway, Milton Keynes, the Stansted to Cambridge M11 corridor, and Ashford in Kent.
He will also aim to simplify the planning system to allow developments to progress more rapidly, especially in the Thames Gateway, where 120,000 homes are planned.
An urban development corporation – able to take a strategic overview of the area’s needs – has already been set up in the Gateway, and will pull together the planning work of six London borough councils.
But housing experts fear the ?150 million earmarked for new infrastructure in the growth areas will prove inadequate, creating suburban villages in …Read More