The East of England Regional Assembly has reacted with extreme concern to new household projections and the prospect of demands for additional housing in the region in a motion (see notes to editors) passed at its Executive Committee today (16 March) in Cambridge.

A government report called Projections of Households in England and the Regions to 2026, published on 14 March by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, predicts that there will be 2,797,000 households in the East of England by 2021, an increase of 561,000 households over the level in 2001.  This compares with an increase of 465,000 households (2001-21) in the projections that underpin the draft East of England Plan published by the Regional Assembly. 


This increase could translate into demands for an additional 99,800 houses above the 478,000 already contained within the draft East of England Plan which has just completed its Examination in Public. 


Councillor John Reynolds, Chair of EERA’s Regional Planning Panel said: “The predictions for household growth in the East of England over the next twenty years are surprisingly high and if translated into new homes would result in a massive increase in housebuilding and development that is simply not sustainable.


“Local authorities are already providing for significant growth in the provision of housing over the next 15 years to help tackle issues of affordability but the boundaries of environmental capacity and supporting public services are already being stretched”.


It appears that a projected increase in the numbers of people moving into the region is the main driving force behind the Government’s increased figures.  EERA believes that continuing to provide yet more houses in response to a predicted trend will just encourage people to move to the region and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


The draft East of England Plan already makes provision to provide 23,900 new dwellings every year until 2021 and if forced to provide for the additional households now projected this would mean planning to build almost 5,000 additional new dwellings every year for 20 years.


Cllr John Reynolds said: “The new household projections are completely unacceptable to EERA and an unsound basis on which to consider making changes to the draft East of England Plan which has recently been tested at the Examination in Public.”


The Panel conducting the Examination in Public (EiP) of the draft East of England Plan has called for submissions from EiP participants within the next three weeks on the implications of the new projections for the draft Plan.


EERA shall be arguing strongly to the EiP Panel that these new household projections should be disregarded and that no alterations to the draft East of England Plan should be considered on the basis of these new household projections.