Sustainable Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 5th February 2003.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:31 pm, 5th February 2003

The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point about his constituency—although I think he advocated the building of the channel tunnel rail link, which has brought more and more housing to his area. In such cases, infrastructure is often slow to follow the development of sustainable communities: if we want sustainable communities, we have to invest. We are talking to Kent county council, and also working through the bodies that we have set up, to see how we can achieve what we want.

I was pleased that Kent county council endorsed our approach in growth areas, including Ashford. It is important to secure the co-operation of local people. Those in areas such as Ashford, however, must recognise that others also want to live in nice communities. We must create the necessary infrastructure and bring in more people in a sensitive way. We think Ashford is an excellent place—it is connected to the channel tunnel rail link—and we will do our best to allay the fears of people there.