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Havering 11th worst in UK for missing target for building new homes - but council contests new figures

PUBLISHED: 07:41 20 August 2018

Havering Council estates will be redeveloped. Picture: PA

Havering Council estates will be redeveloped. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Havering is ranked 11th worst in the country for falling short of its government target for building new homes, according to the latest government figures.

Around 458 homes were built on average each year over the last 10 years for which data was available, from 2007/8 to 2016/17, according to analysis from the BBC’s shared data unit.

This is only 25pc of the government’s estimate of how many new homes need to be created in the borough each year, which stands at 1821, and 21pc of the council’s own assessment of 1366.

This places the borough as the 11th lowest percentage of homes created relative to those needed out of the 333 local authorities analysed by the BBC.

However, by the council’s own count it is producing on average net housing completions to date equal 578 homes a year - nearly 32pc of the government target.

The BBC’s data, provided by the government’s ministry of housing, communities and local government (MHCLG), includes the creation of all new dwellings – from new builds to conversions.

A Havering Council spokesman said: “We aim to provide the homes that Havering requires and create high quality places where people will want to live and settle, a place where communities can thrive.

He added: “Havering has taken every action to ensure an increase in housing delivery in the Borough by identifying sufficient land supply to 2026.

“We are embarking on one of the most ambitious home building and regeneration strategies in London to combat the problem of housing delivery, one that most of the Capital faces. Alongside this, we have implemented a new strategic planning committee and pre-application advice process to facilitate this growth”

The rate of house building in the borough has recently accelerated to levels prior to housing market crash in 2008.

From a record low of 42 homes built in 2011/12, 1012 were created in 2015-16 before dropping again the following year to 443.

The method for calculating how many homes are needed within a local authority was set out in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which was unveiled last month.

The government does not set concrete house-building targets but rather advises councils to set their own estimates based on their local plans.

A spokesman for the MHCLG said that set out an ambitious programme of reforms to boost housing supply – including planning reform and targeted investment to help us deliver an additional 300,000 properties a year by the mid-2020s.”

James Prestwich, head of policy at the National Housing Federation, has suggested that the government must consider reforming the green belt regulations - which restricts around 56pc of land in Havering from developed.

“I’m absolutely not talking about concreting over vast swathes of the English countryside,” he said.

“A more sensible approach [is] proposals around green belt swaps where you build on an area of greenbelt but you then substitute it for another piece of greenbelt land elsewhere.”

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