THE Government has given its backing for an extra 2,700 more homes to be built across West Cheshire to help tackle the shortage of affordable housing in the area, particularly concentrating on derelict and brownfield sites.
This follows a joint bid submitted by Chester City Council, Vale Royal Borough Council and Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council.
This means a total of 14,553 can be built in West Cheshire over the next eight years, including the extra 2,700 homes.
The Government invited bids for New Growth Point Status from all authorities in England as part of its objective to increase the number of houses in the country by 2016, especially in areas of fast economic growth, such as the West Cheshire sub- region.
The bid highlighted the fact that the area, which has a population of more than 324,000, has a buoyant economy and the potential to achieve much more with between 20,000 and 30,000 new jobs projected over the next 20 years.
But a lack of market and affordable housing posed a significant threat to continued sustainable economic growth.
It said parts of the area did have high levels of deprivation and linking areas of economic opportunity with areas of housing need would aid regeneration. A minimum of 40% of the new homes will be affordable.
The bid argued that new housing would bring back into use many derelict, underused and neglected sites.
Decisions on the future of potential development sites will be made in consultation with local people and taken through the planning process.
Proposals will also look at ways in which the energy efficiency of new homes could be improved and how more sustainable ways of travelling, such as walking, cycling and public transport, can be promoted.
The decision has been welcomed by city MP Christine Russell although she is concerned that the new homes are built where the need is greatest, which she claims is in Chester.
She said: “My concern is that the money they are getting for the planning looks at where the homes are needed and that need is paramount rather than where there is the space. The need is greatest in Chester.
“We don’t want the council saying they will dump them all in Ellesmere Port because they have more brownfield sites there.”