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SOUTH-EAST PLANNERS WARN OVER PROPOSALS FOR MORE HOMES

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In response to proposals by government-appointed inspectors for 1.1m new homes to be built in the south-east by 201...
In response to proposals by government-appointed inspectors for 1.1m new homes to be built in the south-east by 2016, the region's planning body has said such development would widen the north-south divide and wreck hopes of an urban renaissance.

The Financial Times (p8) reports that ministers will be told this week that congestion and pressure on services in the UK's most buoyant areas will stiffle economic growth if unconstrained development is allowed to take place.

At a meeting on Thursday, Serplan, the planning body representing 138 councils, will call for talks with John Prescott, the envrionment secretary, as well as a regional 'summit' on the economy and jobs.

After a five-week public inquiry, the inspectors last month recommended a rate of housebuilding between 53% and 64% higher than the range proposed by Serplan. The 1.1m is equivalent to 12 cities the size of southampton.

John Ballance, chairman of Seplan's members' policy group, has written to Mr Prescott to warn that unconstrained development 'would in reality stifle economic growth in parts of the region and reduce the economic potential of the region as a whole'.

He says the inspectors' report undermines the democratic process and conflicts with government policies on sustainable development.

He adds: 'The massive greenfield requirement implied by the panel's proposals would remove the pressure on the development industry to seek out potential urban opportunities and thereby undermine the achievement of an urban reniassance.'

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