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MP calls for housing debate

LORELY Burt has called for a full parliamentary debate into plans which could see 20,000 new homes built in Solihull.

LORELY Burt has called for a full parliamentary debate into plans which could see 20,000 new homes built in Solihull.

A Government-commissioned study suggested that up to 20,600 homes should be provided in the borough to meet housing needs. This compares with a figure of 7,600 proposed by the West Midlands Regional Assembly in its Regional Spatial Strategy.

Now Mrs Burt has raised the housing issue with the Deputy Prime Minister, Harriet Harman, in the Commons. The Solihull MP said a thorough discussion should take place on the "late addition" to projected housing numbers.

"Government has gone behind the backs of locally elected representatives by commissioning a report from consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners that has trebled agreed figures overnight," said the Lib Dem MP.

"Local people are understandably very angry about this. They want to know just where it is proposed we build a new town the size of Lichfield without destroying the balance we have in our existing towns and villages."

Ms Harman replied that the matter would be discussed at a forthcoming regional select committee. Mrs Burt said she would be making strong representations during the consultation period on the plan, which has been extended to December.

This week Mrs Burt also backed a call by by the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to suspend regional housing targets and replace them with locally determined housing needs assessments.

"Local councils should be empowered to set their own targets based on local needs assessments and consultation with local communities," she said.

The housing proposals have also come under attack from the borough's other MP, Caroline Spelman (Con, Meriden) and Ken Meeson - leader of Solihull Council.

 

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