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Council leader takes aim at government’s inflated housing targets for Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 November 2017

Cllr Roger Ramsey.

Cllr Roger Ramsey.

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Havering Council’s leader has blasted the government’s annual housing targets for Havering as “flawed and unrealistic” as he urges ministers to “think again”.

On Monday, Councillor Roger Ramsey revealed that Havering had formally submitted its feedback on plans from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that would see Havering required to build 1,821 new homes each year between 2021 and 2026.

Currently, the London Plan requires the borough to build 1,170 houses a year, but a housing needs assessment taken as part of Havering’s draft local plan revealed a need for 1,366 new builds annually.

However, due to land restrictions, and to prevent rapid overdevelopment across Havering, the local plan recommends following the London Plan’s guidelines for the forseeable future.

But now, the DCLG’s plan means the borough will be asked to build 651 more homes than planned each year.

Councillor Ramsey said: “Our figures were deemed appropriate by the Mayor of London’s planners less than a few weeks ago.

“The [DCLG’s] paper also fails to recognise the challenges we face in meeting current housing targets.

“More than half of Havering is Green Belt, and to suggest such a significant increase to our housing targets shows that the Government’s methodology is flawed and unrealistic, and could put large swathes of the borough’s green space in danger,”

Speaking at the launch of the public consultation on the government’s plans back in September, communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “As anyone who has tried to buy or rent a home recently would probably tell you, the housing market in this country is broken.

“The simple truth is that for far too long we haven’t built enough homes and we don’t build them quickly enough. It’s time to fix that.

“This new approach will cut the unnecessarily complex and lengthy debates that can delay house building.

“It will make sure we have a clear and realistic assessment of how many new homes are needed, and ensure local communities have a voice in deciding where they go.”

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