Think tank warns that new developments could become sink estates unless high income housing is included

The government must rethink the housing growth areas of the South-east by focusing on mixed communities and family homes, according to think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The report compiled by the IPPR, which has links to New Labour, says the growth areas must be developed to appeal to people on high and low incomes. It warns that otherwise these areas are in danger of becoming the “sink estates of tomorrow”.

The report recommends more than doubling the 200,000 homes promised by the deputy prime minister John Prescott by 2016.

It says this would help more working class people to get a foot on the housing ladder.

The infrastructure to support these extra houses is expected to cost about £300m a year. The report says the case for the homes should be put by Ruth Kelly, communities and local government minister.

It report adds that without these extra houses, there will continue to be a chronic shortage of homes in the region. Jim Bennett, the IPPR’s head of social policy, said: “The government’s plans for housing in the South-east’s growth areas are not ambitious enough to meet the projected demand.”