Jobs shortage alarm

PUBLISHED: 09:07 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:22 24 May 2010

IN PARTS of Weston up to 70 per cent of residents are commuters and with more houses on the horizon councillors are warning it could take 40 years to provide enough jobs in the town. The Government says Weston has to accommodate 9,000 new dwellings over t

IN PARTS of Weston up to 70 per cent of residents are commuters and with more houses on the horizon councillors are warning it could take 40 years to provide enough jobs in the town.The Government says Weston has to accommodate 9,000 new dwellings over the next 20 years, the majority of which have been earmarked for Weston airfield and RAF Locking.Developers have estimated both sites will take around 20 years to complete and it is expected they will create 7,000 jobs. But this will leave a jobs shortfall of 6,500.In a North Somerset Council Strategic Planning and Economic Development Policy and Scrutiny Panel (SPED) meeting, the figures were presented that employment led development in Weston is necessary to re-address the balance between the numbers of houses being built and the number of jobs being created.On an annual basis the number of houses built must not exceed 280 if commuting is not to get worse, translating as 40 years to meet the Governments Regional Assembly target, not the 20 years currently required.SPED chairman Councillor Elfan Ap Rees concluded that the issue should be put to the Regional Assembly. He said: "Without strict controls on housing numbers and timing, Weston will continue to become commuter dominated and the situation will worsen with over 4,000 commuters adding to the daily run."SPED councillors concluded that the imbalance in houses and jobs be put to the Regional Assembly and the West of England Partnership in a 'forceful' way by the council's executive member, officers and the council's representatives on the assembly.Cllr Ap Rees added: "It is important that everyone understands the implications of these figures and the risks attached. We need to make absolutely sure that the people making decisions on the future of Weston are fully informed of the facts and that we, as a council, speak as one on this issue.

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