Jade Uko, senior account director (South East) at UK Property Forums’ partner DevComms, outlines the major events the region’s MPs have been focussed on this month.

With local election campaigns a focus for many politicians in May, it is unsurprising that the East of England’s MPs have been focused on local planning and development campaigns.        

In North West Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara MP (Con) is opposing plans for 20 new homes in the village of Helpston citing the lack of an overall masterplan and local impact.

Also in Cambridgeshire, Shailesh’s colleague, Lucy Frazer MP (Con, South East Cambridgeshire) reports on the progress of her objection to the Sunnica solar energy plans locally. ‘Many will know that despite my general support for solar energy, I have maintained at every stage of the process that this specific scheme is both poorly planned and unsuitable’, reports Lucy who advises that the Planning Inspectorate examination period is now closed.

Over the border in Essex John Baron MP (Con, Basildon and Billericay) welcomes progress on the Laindon Shopping Centre and the Craylands Estate development after a meeting with Sanctuary following Sanctuary’s rescue of Swan.

In Brentwood and Ongar, Alex Burghart (Con) applauds Brentwood’s commitment to bring employment opportunities to the area citing that Brentwood Borough Council’s Local Plan is ‘making the most of every bit of brownfield land available-and with some care, some greenfield sites.’

Onshore/offshore power seems to be the subject of some discussion among Essex MPs with Priti Patel (Con, Witham) speaking in the house in opposition to onshore power grids ‘Local opposition to the plans for pylons is strong and increasing. Communities across the East of England are extremely angry and upset.  They want to see National Grid scrap the plans and replace them with an offshore grid’.

Meanwhile, in the same questions, Sir James Duddridge (Con, Rochford and Southend East) said, ‘Potton island and Foulness island in the Rochford district would very much like to see onshore wind farms’. Energy infrastructure is a growth industry in the East of England so expect to see more contributions from Essex MPs on the subject in the coming months.

The heavy cost of a lack of affordable housing has been a major topic in Bedfordshire in April, ‘I find that housing is the most common issue that local residents contact me about’, explained Rachel Hopkins MP (Lab, Luton South) as she highlighted the chronic under-provision of social and affordable houses to rent in the town and the human impact this is having on residents including over 1000 families in temporary accommodation.

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