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Ebbsfleet Development Corporation CEO says he will fight to keep government funding

Paul Spooner, the chief executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, who is leading plans to build Ebbsfleet garden city, has stated that he will fight to keep £310 million of government funding for the project despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Mr Spooner spoke at the North Kent B2B exhibition at Buckmore Park yesterday (29 June) and said pressure on Whitehall budgets after Brexit should not affect plans to build up to 15,000 homes at the garden city. He also revealed that property developers remain committed to the project between Gravesend and Dartford, despite the potential fluctuations in house prices after last week’s vote.

The CEO also revealed the project’s target to build 5,100 homes by 2021, however warned that this goal would not be met, if the government went back on its pledge to invest in infrastructure needed by developers, such as roads, water works and broadband cabling.

Mr Spooner said: “In light of Brexit, my first task is to protect that £310 million. Our job is to invest and give confidence to investors.

“It is essential the Government continues to ladle us with the investment they have allocated to get those old quarry areas regenerated and get the housing we need.”

The more immediate target is to build 300 homes by 2016/17, and there are currently five property developers working on site aiming to achieve this.

The main landowners in the garden city area, Land Securities and Henley Camland, have both privately reaffirmed their commitment to the project, according to Mr Spooner.

He said: “The developers have committed serious significant resources and remain committed to the task. There will be pressure on prices and values after Brexit but the underlying principles of its good location and housing demand remains.

“There was a significant housing challenge in the country last week and this week is no different. The people we are working with take a very long-term view. It is going to be a choppy next few months but the overall demand is there.

“It will be harder and we will have to work harder but we are confident we can make this happen.”

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