The South East England Regional Assembly has attacked the failure of the government to provide support for suburbs.
In a new report, the unelected assembly claims that the suburban neighbourhoods in the South East have been neglected and are in desperate need of better and more sustainable management.
It makes reference to research that shows town and city centres are beginning to benefit from proactive planning and investment in the past decades, while the outskirts have suffered.
The report also claims that key communities have experienced poorly designed development, increasing reliance on the car, a decline in local shopping centres and a lack of community services and infrastructure to meet needs.
It says that the assembly is in the process of addressing these concerns in new policies on suburban management, design and infrastructure in the South East Plan.
'There is a real opportunity in some suburbs to improve the quality of life,' says councillor and assembly chair Nick Skellett. 'I hope the research will help more areas to fulfil their potential.'by Ed Dorrell