ODPM looks to extend growth areas scheme

Proposals for small growth areas outside the four designated in the communities plan are being considered, it has emerged.

The ODPM is encouraging local authorities that want to promote extra housing development to create growth points. Among the proposals are Norwich and the Haven and Solent Gateways. Speaking at a Town and Country Planning Association housing conference last week, ODPM growth areas chief Henry Cleary said: "We have had several expressions of interest from local authorities over a wide geographical range."

The concept of growth points was mooted in the ODPM five-year housing plan Homes for All last January. It said that up to £40 million would be made available between 2006 and 2008 to help around five areas prepare for additional growth. It is not yet clear whether additional funding will be secured for extra bids.

One group pursuing growth, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, wants an increase of around 80,000 homes between 2006 and 2026. Plans for two new towns near Portsmouth and Southampton were announced by Hampshire earlier this year (Planning, 16 September, p4).

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