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North West deserves opportunity to prosper

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I am writing to express my opposition to the virtual ban on planning permission for new houses in Lancaster and much of the North West (AJ 19.6.03).

The growth in prosperity and jobs in London and the South East has lead to an increasing concentration of jobs in this region. Stiff planning controls, in particular the Green Belt, have further restricted the limited supply of land for housing and resulted in escalating house prices. The environmental benefits probably justify this policy.

Prosperity is gradually returning to the North West, rippling out from Manchester.

One of the key benefits of living and working in the North West is that there is so much more space and house prices are much cheaper. Lancaster is a prime example. It is a county town with a reputable university, situated within easy reach of the English Lake District - an ideal location for modest expansion and greater prosperity.

Would I be cynical to ask why deputy prime minister John Prescott has issued an edict to restrict growth in large areas of Lancashire and Cumbria but not, it seems, in his native Yorkshire?

Surely the restrictions on planning permission should be swiftly eased so as not to damage prosperity in the region.

Oliver Burston, Oliver Burston Architects, London N6

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