30 March 1998
Government homes plan threatens countryside

THE Government plans to build large numbers of homes in the south-east on rural land previously thought out-of-bounds to housebuilders, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

The plan follows a recent decision by John Prescott, deputy prime minister, to allow regions more control over the homes that are built.

The favoured option drawn up by Serplan, the regional planning conference, provides for over 300,000 homes to built in the countryside outside London between 2006 and 2016. Taking up an area equivalent to six times the size of Reading.

The plans renew the possibility of a new town at Micheldever and the northward expansion of Wincester, Hampshire. It could also include a massive “strategic development corridor” along the A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester in Essex and the erosion of the gap between Maidstone and the Medway towns.

Also possible is the expansion of Bexhill, Uckfield, Hailsham and Polegate in East Sussex.

The urban area of the south-east outside London has grown twice as fast as any other area of Britain. Between 1945 and 1990, development ate up an area of rural land larger than Greater London. Nearly two-thirds of the south-east is now disturbed by the noise of roads and traffic. An area of countryside the size of Oxfordshire has been lost since the 1960s.

  • The Daily Telegraph 30/03/98 page 1, page 4