MASSIVE £800 MILLION BILL TO SUPPORT NEW HOUSING – AND WE’RE £150 MILLION SHORT
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MASSIVE £800 MILLION BILL TO SUPPORT NEW HOUSING – AND WE’RE £150 MILLION SHORT

Worcestershire residents are set to be faced with totally inadequate schools, hospitals, emergency services, libraries and recreational facilities if the thousands of new houses the government is insisting are built in the county are actually completed.
That is the conclusion of Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff who today described a report from Baker Associates consultants to the County Council on infrastructure requirements as “not a vision but a terrible warning of what is in store for us if the houses are built before the services to support them are ready.”

The report estimates the cost of the entire infrastructure needed to support the new houses at £800 million. It looks at sources of funding to pay for it – including both public funds and developer contributions - and estimates a total shortfall of over £150 million. The report states – with its own emphasis on the two “ifs”-

“Overall there is a potential funding shortfall of £151.85 million, if all funding bids are successful and if developer contributions can be maximised.”

Commenting, Peter said,

“We all agree that we need more new houses to meet local demand and to provide decent affordable accommodation to local people, but not as many as the government is telling us to build. But unless we also provide all the things that make life liveable, any significant number of new houses will do harm, not good.

“It really does look as if Worcestershire is totally unable to find the money to pay for all the things we must have to provide adequately for the new houses – and if they are built without those things, all of us will suffer, not just the new residents of the new homes. With the pressure on public funds, the gap is likely to grow, not shrink.

“Some local politicians have criticised the six month delay to the plan being drawn up by the three district councils of South Worcestershire, the South Worcestershire Joint Core strategy. The critics are wrong. These dramatic figures prove the desperate need for a pause before we rush headlong into committing ourselves to something we just can’t afford. This report shows in stark detail just how vital a period of calm reflection is.

“Even it we decide there are appropriate places to put all these thousands of new homes, and that’s in real doubt, we cannot cope until the funding gap is plugged.”

ENDS
Note to editors:

“Infrastructure requirements within Worcestershire to 2026 arising from Phase Two Review of West Midlands RSS Preferred Option, Final Report, March 2009; Baker Associates, Planning Consultants” is available on the Worcestershire County council website at http://worcestershire.whub.org.uk/home/worcestershire_final_report.pdf

The report looks at these aspects of infrastructure:

• Education
• Health
• Community - including libraries and faith
• Emergency - including police, fire and ambulance
• Recreation and green infrastructure
• Transport and access
• Energy generation supply and distribution
• Water infrastructure
• Household waste and recycling collection
• Telecommunications

Contact
01905 763952 (transfers to London office when necessary) or 07921 039870 (mobile);
Mobile e-mail: peterjamesluff@torymail.net
All Peter Luff’s press releases are posted on his website – www.peterluff.org.uk


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