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Government sets £200m aside for housing in South East

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A large chunk of government funding has been earmarked to support the development of new housing across the south-east of England, it was announced yesterday.

Nearly 70 projects will be given the chance to submit bids for a share of a new £200 million pot of cash - for 'innovative projects to benefit communities across London and the South East'.

The schemes which could obtain an injection of funds include a plan by Barnet council to improve road access to development sites to aid the construction of 2,100 homes in the area.

Projects in the east of England - such as the redevelopment of the Bishop's Stortford Goods Yard, which will deliver around 670 homes - will also get a chance to bid for money.

Announcing the funding yesterday, housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper said: 'We need to build more homes so that the next generation of first time buyers can afford a place of their own.

'But they need to be homes in sustainable communities, not just dormitories.

'This funding will cover projects from enhancing local woodland and recreation areas to new transport infrastructure, and from town centre revitalisation to improved leisure centres.'

The deadline for bids is November and final decisions on which projects will receive government money will be made early in the New Year, with the aim that projects will be up and running by April 2006.

Meanwhile the Milton Keynes/South Midlands growth area is bidding for a total of £117.7 million of funding, with more than £50 million allocated for nine projects in Northamptonshire.

by Rob Sharp

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