Consultation Exercise: East of England

During this week I was one of the Houghton Regis town councillors who attended a consultation meeting of East of England Regional Assembly (EERA).
The purpose of the meeting was to obtain views on how fast the region should grow and broadly where that growth should go. As the meeting was held at Chicksands, the questioners were by and large from Central Beds, and Luton areas.

There were appeals for the A5-M1 bypass to be built first (Cllr PeterWilliams, Houghton Regis), and for other infrastructure (roads, hospitals, schools etc. ) to be in place before building starts. General response: government short of money, EERA looking for section 106 money from developers to fund infrastructure, followed by a general sense of fustration from the assembled questioners. There were appeals for homes to be built for rent (Cllr Rita Egan, Houghton Regis), to make them affordable for local people. There was an appeal for electricity to be made available, as the region will face supply problems. There was a question about where water supplies will come from; and given that people need food, why is a farming region to be concreted over? Several questioners made the point that they didn't believe the government statistics on population growth : response from EERA, whatever statistics are used the population is growing and needs homes.