Communities minister Sadiq Khan has unveiled a strategy for delivering 654,000 new homes, jobs and infrastructure in the south-east by 2026 today.
He said the South East Plan sets out a ‘framework for sustainable growth that will support long-term economic performance in the region by encouraging the provision of new job opportunities and meeting the region's housing needs’.
It focuses on the south-east's regional hubs, including five strategic development areas in an arc from South Hampshire through Oxford to Milton Keynes. A further two strategic development areas where specific development opportunities exist will also be pursued at Whitehill/Bordon in Hampshire and Shoreham in West Sussex.
The plan deals with the issues of tackling climate change, including flood risks, and protecting the region's natural and historic environment. It also sets out the region's transport strategy and an overall framework for implementation.
Khan said increasing the supply of housing provision remains ‘absolutely critical’ despite the current difficulties in the housing market and challenging economic outlook. His plans sets out a target that 35% of the new housing provision must be affordable.
The plans targets:
- Higher housing growth to deliver 32,700 new homes each year until 2026 to address household growth and affordability issues in the region. At least 60% should be built on brownfield land.
- A range of affordable housing targets across the region with 35% of all new housing across the region affordable.
- Inclusion of a stepped range of targets rising to at least 16% of new developments' energy to be secured from renewable sources.
- A modern transport system that supports the economy and improves accessibility to and within the region is a priority. The plan sets out priorities for future investment in transport infrastructure and promotes better use and management of existing assets.
The Department for Transport is currently considering proposals by the South East Regional Transport Board to fund 39 major road and public transport schemes in the south-east between 2009 and 2015, which would potentially increase expenditure by a further £1.806bn.
Khan said: ‘The south-east needs a long term strategy to strengthen the economy, address housing shortages and tackle the threat of climate change.
'The number of households in the south-east is growing rapidly with housing supply lagging behind and housing affordability worsening. Despite the current difficulties in the market we need to keep up with the rise in demand and provide more homes.’
Publication of the final plan follows a comprehensive public consultation and independent examination process.