Assembly repeats investment demand

Continued house building increases in the South East may not be sustainable without more investment in infrastructure, the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) warned this week.

Recording a 12 per cent rise in housing completions in 2004-05, the region exceeded its target for the second consecutive year. But SEERA maintained that future growth would depend on increased funding from the government.

Figures published by the assembly this week show that 31,900 homes were completed in the region last year, beating the regional planning guidance target of 28,000. But SEERA chairman Keith Mitchell warned: "If the government wants this level of growth to continue, ministers need to commit to stepping up investment in the region's infrastructure."

Chief executive Paul Bevan told Planning that the South East's transport needs amount to approximately "ten times" the £135 million that it has been given this year. "To allocate the resources needed to unlock opportunities, the regional fund is very small. Overall there is a £1.8 billion gap in infrastructure needs," he said.

SEERA figures also revealed that Milton Keynes, part of one of the government's designated growth areas, fell 1,000 homes short of its target of 2,400.

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