Topics discussed varied from transport issues such as road improvements, airport expansion, economic growth, greenfield development, housing supply and affordable homes, climate change and the management of natural resources. Feedback from the workshops will be discussed at the Assembly's regional planning committee on 29 June and presented at the assembly plenary on 21 July at Gatwick.
The government agencies workshop in Guildford, Surrey on 7 May had representatives from:
- Government Office of the South East
- Housing Concerns
- Tourism South East
- Forestry Commission
- South East England Cultural Consortium
- Department for Transport
- South East England Development Agency
- English Nature
- Environment Agency
- English Partnership
- English Heritage
Paul Bevan, chief executive of the South East England Regional Assembly commented: 'We are very pleased with attendance and the organisations represented. It shows that many people are concerned about what the region should look like in 20 years time. We were also encouraged that other organisations held their own debates such as parish town councils and economic partnerships. It has been an interesting and challenging consultative process and we have appreciated every input. Views from these workshops will feed into the South East Plan as we prepare a full draft for public consultation early in 2005.'
Feedback from the debates are available on the website www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/southeastplan
1)Key discussion points at workshops:
-Housing - Housing need and supply, future patterns and scales of migration, ageing population and its implications, degree to which price consideration should affect the scale of supply (Barker Report on Housing Supply, 2004), affordability and how to deliver better homes, achieving the right type and quality, improving condition and use of the existing stock and incentives for delivery.
-Economy - Globalisation and its impacts, inter-regional economic performance, sector economic forecasts and their realism and impact of growth.
-Social - Education and skills deficits, health in its widest sense, exclusion and deprivation.
-Environment - Climate change - the scope for mitigation, countryside management and new opportunities, particularly in the urban fringe, biodiversityand the strategic creation of new habitats, coastal management and natural resource management.
3)The South East Plan will be a document setting regional priorities and guiding the production of local plans and strategies on critical issues affecting all of us, such as housing, transport, waste and development. It will also help share best practice between different areas of the region that face similar problems and cover the period to 2026. The Plan will impact on the whole South East, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey.
4)The workshop discussion papers are available on the South East Plan website. People can comment on the papers until 28 May 2004 by writing to the assembly.
5)The assembly is the 'voluntary regional chamber' for the south-east. It was established in January 1999 to give a representative voice to the south-east region which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, and Surrey.
6)The regional assembly is made up of 111 members including elected councillors nominated by the region's local authorities and 37 representatives from other sectors of the community (including business, trades unions, education, housing, health, sports, culture, tourism, faith groups, environmental, community and voluntary organisations).
7)The assembly has three areas of core business:
a)It is the representative voice of the south-east, engaging and representing its member organisations and, through them, the wider public.
b)The assembly has a specific role under the Regional Development Agencies' Act 1998 to ensure the accountability of the South East England Development Agency to the region.
c)The Assembly has been the Regional Planning Body for the south-east since April 2001. It has responsibility for proposing strategic planning and transport policies to Government.
Please visit the South East England Regional Assembly's website for further information at www.southeast-ra.gov.uk