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Rise in numbers to region's gardens, zoos and museums

The region's gardens, zoos and museums saw a large growth in visitor numbers last year, according to a new tourism survey.

The annual report by Visit England found the most popular paid-for attraction in the East of the Anglia region was Colchester Zoo, with more than a million visitors.

Also clocking up a million tourists was Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach and in third place was Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

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Cambridge among world's most expensive cities for student housing

Cambridge has been ranked as the eighth most expensive city in the world for student housing. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cambridge has been ranked as one of the top ten most expensive cities in the world for student housing.

It has the eighth highest weekly rental spend, with students having to pay $272 on average.

The research was conducted by the website Student.com, which surveyed students from 92 cities across the world.

New York was named as the most expensive city. London and Oxford also made the top ten, in second and sixth place respectively.

The findings came from research conducted by the website Student.com Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It's evident that the big urban centres around the world remain huge magnets for both international and domestic students.

"On average, students pay more to live in these cities, but that's not to say that there aren't more affordable options available.

"Cities with larger supplies of purpose-built student accommodation tend to be, on average, more affordable than cities that are under supplied.

– Luke Nolan, Chief Executive, Student.com

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Fears for future of chimneys at old Bedfordshire brickworks

Stewartby Brickworks chimneys can be seen for miles Credit: ITV News Anglia

There are fears for the future of the Stewartby brickworks chimneys in Bedfordshire after plans were submitted for hundreds of new homes in the village.

The listed brick structures can be seen for miles around but the Parish Council says they are at risk from demolition if Bedford Borough Council decides they are unsafe to build near.

The Stewartby Brickworks Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I don't believe in this health and safety issue at all, I appreciate that it is of value and had to be adhered to. These chimneys have been up for years and people used to work under them. 6,000 employees used to be there at one time and since 2002, they haven't fired a brick and they're still standing."

– Cllr John Symonds, Chairman of Stewartby Parish Council

Lack of choice blamed for fewer people buying houses

Fewer people are buying and selling houses in the East of England. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The number of houses being bought and sold in the East of England is declining, with industry leaders blaming the lack of choice for new buyers.

The number of enquiries about homes and newly agreed sales fell during April, according to research by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Uncertainty due to the upcoming general election and the ramifications of stamp duty changes were also blamed for fewer people buying houses.

Lack of choice for new buyers is being blamed for the decline in house buying. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"The bulk of the feedback we are receiving points to a fairly flat summer for both activity and prices.

"Lack of stock on the market remains a key challenge for the sector with recent and forthcoming tax changes having a material impact on transaction levels, particularly at higher price points.

"Uncertainty relating to the forthcoming general election is also highlighted by some respondents as a reason for inertia."

– Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Essex housing scheme could see 40,000 new homes built

Three sites have already been earmarked for the new homes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than 40,000 new homes could be built across north Essex as part of a scheme to create more so-called 'Garden Communities'.

The plans are in the very early stages but three possible sites have already been earmarked:

  • West Colchester - 20,000 homes
  • West Braintree - 13,000 homes
  • Tendring/Colchester border - 9,000 homes
Braintree is one of four councils involved in the scheme. Credit: ITV News Anglia

It is the brainchild of four councils across Essex, who are bidding for money from central government to fund the scheme.

We think it's vital that local authorities actually plan the developments and it's not just left to builders and speculators.

We want proper communities built for the future with, most importantly, the infrastructure in the beginning.

– Cllr Graham Butland, Leader, Braintree District Council
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