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Housebuilding could drop below 100,000

Plans for around 85,000 homes have been scrapped by councils across the country, after the Government axed regional housebuilding targets.

Housebuilding could drop below 100,000

That’s according to the National Housing Federation, which has found that many town halls have substantially reduced plans for new homes following abolition of the targets altogether.

Only 123,000 homes were built in 2009/10 – the lowest figure since 1923. But the Federation says that this figure could fall below the 100,000 mark for the first time in almost a century, after the regional housing targets were scrapped.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wrote to local authorities in May outlining the Government’s commitment to abolishing regional strategies and the targets were formally revoked on July 6, because they were “a terrible, expensive, time-consuming way to impose house building.”

The Federation believes the Government’s decision to allow councils to ignore the regional targets has resulted directly or indirectly in plans to build 84,150homes being dropped.

According to the report, compiled by Tetlow King on behalf of the Federation, the following councils have decided to reduce the number of homes they plan to build:

  • Exeter City Council – by 3,000 homes

  • Bristol City Council – 6,000 homes

  • Torbay Council – 5,000 homes

  • Cotswold District Council – 900 homes

  • North Somerset Council – 10,750 homes

  • North Hertfordshire Council and Stevenage Borough Council – 9,200 homes.

    Chief executive David Orr said: “With more than 4.5m people on waiting lists, and 2.5m people in overcrowded conditions, this is no time to downgrade the need for new homes.

    “It is frankly disappointing that so many local authorities have decided to revise down the number of homes planned for their areas following the scrapping of the regional housebuilding targets.

    “Local authorities need to recognise that just because regional targets have gone, housing need has not.

    “To prevent a slump in the number of desperately needed new homes, the Government should replace the regional planning system with transitional arrangements as a matter of urgency.”

  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

    Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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