Ten areas throughout the country have submitted applications for cash in return for greater housing growth
Cities, towns and regions across the south and east of England are lobbying the government to become “mini-growth areas”, in return for extra money for infrastructure.
At last week’s More and Better Homes conference, Henry Cleary, head of growth areas at the ODPM, said 10 areas had come forward with proposals for increased growth. These include Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Norwich, Oxford, Swindon and south Hampshire.
The offer of funding for houses was made in the ODPM’s five-year housing plan.
The move comes as the four existing growth areas – Thames Gateway, Ashford, Milton Keynes and Stansted – face an uncertain future. David Miliband, the communities minister, is currently revamping the Sustainable Communities Plan.
Linda Jewell, planning manager at Swindon council, said the Wiltshire town needed 32,000 extra dwellings to absorb the growth taking place along the M4 corridor. She identified a greenfield area to the east of the A419, which could accommodate 10,000-13,000 dwellings, as the town’s key expansion zone.
Swindon, along with Bristol, Bournemouth and Plymouth, has been identified as an area of strategic housing growth in the draft regional spatial strategy for south-west England.
In the east of England, an alliance of the area’s five biggest towns and cities have come together. Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Luton are presenting a joint case for extra growth and investment.
The five towns and cities, and the East of England Development Agency, have commissioned consultant Roger Tym and Partners to establish the level of infrastructure investment needed to support extra housing.
Ed Turner, Oxford council’s housing cabinet member, said his authority was “desperate for expansion”. He added that the Labour council had made representations through local MP Andrew Smith for more investment to support the growth of the city, which is hemmed in by green-belt land in Tory-run districts.