Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Blueprint for long-term East Midlands growth unveiled

Blueprint for long-term East Midlands growth unveiled

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (051) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 12 March 2009

Plans for delivering the new homes, jobs and infrastructure the East Midlands needs up to 2026 were announced by Communities Minister Sadiq Khan today.

The East Midlands Regional Plan will support the long-term economic performance in the region by encouraging the provision of new job opportunities and meeting the region's housing needs. It also deals with the key issues of tackling climate change, including flood risks, and protecting the region's natural and historic environment.

Increasing the supply of housing provision remains absolutely critical despite the current difficulties in the housing market and challenging economic outlook. The Plan sets out to deliver 430,300 new homes (2006 - 2026) to meet the region's long-term housing needs. The East Midlands population is continuing to grow more quickly than the national average with people living longer and increasingly choosing to live alone. The latest statistics show the number of households in the region is projected to grow by some 564,000 over the next 20 years.

The gap between average house prices and average wages in the region has also widened and the plan sets out that at least 32 per cent, 137,500 homes, of the housing provision must be affordable.

The Plan focuses growth in the three cities of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, where almost half of the region's population live, and Northampton and Lincoln. Significant levels of development should also be concentrated in the Growth Area towns of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough.

The region will benefit from growth in most parts of the region, particularly in areas supported by over £100m from the Growth Fund over the next two years. This includes £48.3m for Northamptonshire, £38.9m for the Three Cities Growth Point around Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, £6.6m for Lincoln, £5.4m for Newark, £5.2m for Grantham and £1.5m for Gainsborough

Growth Areas and Growth Points in the East Midlands have also applied to the Government's £200m Community Infrastructure Fund to support transport related proposals.

Sadiq Khan said:

"The East Midlands needs a long term strategy that strengthens the region's economy, addresses housing shortages and tackles the threat of climate change.

"The population is growing rapidly with more people living alone and the gap between average houses prices and average wages is widening. If more homes are not built the housing ladder will grow even further out of reach leaving the next generation with nowhere to live.

"The East Midlands Plan sets out a vision for reducing the social and economic disparities in the region and delivering a higher quality of life for all."

The Minister for the East Midlands Phil Hope said:

"Despite the current difficulties in the market, the number of households in the East Midlands is growing and to keep up with the rise in demand we do need to provide more homes.

"While I am totally committed to helping people and businesses with the problems they have today, it is very important that we continue to plan for the future, including the new homes we need.

"The Regional Plan has the potential to touch the lives of everyone living in the East Midlands and is an important part of the long term plan for the region."

Publication of the final plan follows a comprehensive public consultation and independent examination process.

The Plan supports the implementation of the existing Regional Economic Strategy (RES) with its emphasis on raising skills, economic diversification and a move towards a knowledge based economy.

It also provides a regional policy framework for major transport, waste and environmental issues in the East Midlands.

Tackling the threat of climate change is a key concern to support national targets to reduce CO2 by 60 per cent by 2050. The Plan sets an interim 10 per cent renewable energy target on new development sites until councils are able to bring forward their own challenging targets. A new policy on Air Quality has also been added.

The Government has rejected the Panel's recommendation to scrap much of the Green Belt around Nottingham and instead a full review of land availability will be carried out both in the existing built up area of Nottingham and around the conurbation to establish the capacity to accept new building.

Notes to editors

1. Summary of Key points in plan:

* Higher housing growth to deliver 430,300 new homes by 2026 to address household growth and affordability issues in the region. At least 60 per cent should be built on brownfield, previously developed, land.

* A range of affordable housing targets across the region with at least 32per cent all new housing across the region affordable.

* The Plan sets out the need for a strategy for the coastal districts of Lincolnshire to consider flood risk, housing, regeneration and infrastructure needs. Limited growth levels until a coastal strategy is drawn up and agreed.

* Inclusion of a target for 10per cent of new developments' energy to be secured from local renewable and low carbon sources.

* A modern transport system that supports the economy and improves accessibility to and within the region is a priority. The Plan sets out priorities for future investment in transport infrastructure and promotes better public transport, improved parking and tackles congestion problems.

* Rejection of the Panel's recommendation to scrap much of the Green Belt around Nottingham. Instead a full review of land availability should be done to establish the capacity to accept new building in the existing built up area of Nottingham and around the conurbation.

* Revised pitch numbers for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople.

* Eco-towns are not part of the Regional Plan but will be looked at in the next Partial Review of the Plan which is due to be published in autumn 2011.

2. The former Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (East Midlands Regional Plan) was published as RSS8 in March 2005. In September 2006 the East Midlands Regional Assembly submitted a draft revision of the RSS to Government. Following public consultation this was considered before an independent Panel at an Examination in Public during May-July 2007. The Panel's report, which includes their many recommended changes, was published on 28 November 2007. Proposed Changes, taking into account these recommendations, were published by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 22nd July 2008 followed by a twelve week public consultation ending on 17th October 2008.

3. Copies of the revised Regional Plan have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are being sent to all East Midlands MPs, MEPs, local authorities, the East Midlands Regional Assembly and the East Midlands Development Agency. Other stakeholders will be advised how to obtain a copy. The Plan will also be available for public inspection at local authority offices and libraries across the region during normal working hours.

4. From approximately 9.30am on 12th March the Plan and all related documents will also be available to download from the Government Office for the East Midlands' website http://www.gos.gov.uk/goem/planning/regional-planning/.

5. The latest 2006-based Household Projections were published by CLG on 11 March and are available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/pdf/1172133.pdf. These new projections will be taken into account during the preparation of the next RSS review.

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