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Housing (Bournemouth)

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

The panel report into the draft regional spatial strategy for the south-west recommends an overall net increase in dwellings for Bournemouth of 16,100 for the period 2006 to 2026. That is the recommendation of the panel based on evidence submitted to and discussed at the examination in public held between 17 April and 6 July 2007. The panel’s recommendations are currently before the Secretary of State for consideration.

I am grateful for that reply, but it does not give the full picture. It is interesting that the Minister for Housing, who has just sat down, said that a community is not a community without infrastructure. The numbers of houses that the Under-Secretary has just read out will be built in Bournemouth with no investment in rail services, schools, hospitals or the fire service—as the Under-Secretary knows, there has been a 1 per cent. increase for the fire service. How can we continue to cram houses into Bournemouth unitary authority, which is already building 600 new dwellings every single year, without creating slums for the future?

The hon. Gentleman needs to have a closer dialogue with his local authority, which asked for the regional spatial strategy to include between 680 and 780 homes a year and which is currently building at a rate of more than 1,000 completions a year. Bearing that in mind, the hon. Gentleman would be best off working with the local authority to help to ensure that his local community gets the infrastructure that goes with those houses, and I am sure that that is possible.