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Leader lauds SE Plan axe

PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:45 23 August 2010

THE council leader has praised the decision by the government to scrap the South East Plan, claiming the move is hugely important for Gravesham and its residents. The new secretary of state for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, has writte

THE council leader has praised the decision by the government to scrap the South East Plan, claiming the move is "hugely important for Gravesham and its residents."

The new secretary of state for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, has written to every council in the country about abolishing regional plans. For Gravesham, this means the removal of targets to build 9,300 new homes by 2026, and 16 new pitches for travellers.

Leader Mick Snelling said: "I had been warning residents at public meetings for the three years I have been leader of Gravesham that the original calculation that 9,300 new houses could be built on brownfield sites was looking increasingly unlikely - as some sites in or near the town centre in particular were clearly not going to come forward."

He added the plans could have forced greenfield development on sites such as the fields by Morrisons in Coldharbour Lane, or in the Northfleet Embankment, where he is keen for business rather than residential development to take place.

Mr Pickles, in his letter to the council, promises without the plans they will have more say in future planning.

He wrote: "Decisions on housing supply (including the provision of traveller's sites) will rest with Local Planning Authorities without the framework of regional numbers."

Mr Snelling added: "The need to find new traveller pitches was likely to be a very emotive issue.

"This newfound freedom to take local decisions on what is best for our borough and its residents is to be welcomed and I congratulate the new government on the speed with which it is keeping its promises.

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