Census figures ‘justify’ homes

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COUNCIL bosses say the latest Census figures validate the need to build thousands of new homes in Bury St Edmunds.

Cllr Terry Clements, cabinet member for planning for St Edmundsbury Council, said the area’s 12,700 population increase to 111,000 justifies Vision 2031’s plans for an extra 5,900 houses.

The figures were revealed in the first results from the 2011 Census, which shows Suffolk’s population has grown by almost 60,000 people in the last 10 years to 728,200.

Cllr Clements said: “I’m not surprised by the figures. I know people are concerned about the amount of building but there’s a real demand there.

“It justifies what we’ve been saying.”

Meanwhile, in Mid Suffolk the number of residents has leapt by 9,700 to 96,700, in Babergh by 4,200 to 87,700 and in Forest Heath by 3,600 to 59,700.

County councillors have called for more funding in the wake of the figures to meet the demands of an increased population.

Cllr Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “The formula grant we get is based on the number of people within the county so the logical conclusion would be to get more money from the Government. We think they should recognise that we’re an area of above-average growth and we’ve additional pressures with an increased older population.”

Health bosses echoed her concerns, noting that the county’s population will rocket by 136,800 in the next 20 years with the largest increase amoing the over 65s.

Tessa Lindfield, director of public health for NHS Suffolk, said: “We have already developed strategies which will help us deliver the right healthcare in the future, and in particular, focussing on age related health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and dementia, which will see a big increase in the future.”