New Forest East

ODPM – NEW TOWNS – 1 March 2006

Dr Julian Lewis: I thank my hon. Friend for giving way to someone who represents the New Forest – "new" in that it dates from the 11th Century, post-William the Conqueror's invasion, as I am sure my hon. Friend is aware. Can he throw any light on why the Government appear to want to house extra people in the south-east or other parts of the country by cramming them into existing towns or cities, instead of building new towns or cities? Is that sensible planning or does it relate to electoral manipulation?

[Michael Fabricant: My hon. Friend, as ever, raises a very interesting question. I shall take the fine example of our Prime Minister and say that this is probably not a question for me, but for the Minister for Housing and Planning. I hope that she will address that point when she responds ...

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper): … We must accept as our starting point the need to build more new homes. Where and how do we develop new homes and provide the housing that the nation undeniably needs? The Conservatives face a challenge. I recognise the point made by the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) when he said that perhaps we should be developing new towns instead of high-density developments in cities or existing towns. That was an honest recognition of the fact that there are trade-offs.]