'˜It is impossible to build this many houses' '“ councils hit back at government's new targetsÂ

NEW government housing targets that were set in a bid to improve affordability have been branded a 'farce.'

Wednesday, 15th August 2018, 11:50 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:06 pm
Extra houses could be built in this area as targets are set to be changed by the government

Councils across the UK have seen annual figures for new homes change based on how property prices compare to salaries in their areas.

As a result many regions have been hit by higher targets in a move the government claims will bring down house prices, creating more affordable homes.

Locally, Fareham Borough Council, Havant Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council are expected to build more dwellings than their previous calculations showed. In comparison Gosport Borough Council's new target is less, with 238 homes now needed every year until 2026, from an original projection of 335.

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Extra houses could be built in this area as targets are set to be changed by the government

Fareham is one of the hardest hit areas in Hampshire with 531 homes needed every year, up from 420.

The leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward, said: 'It means a 30 per cent increase in our housing numbers. We already had to make a plan for 2,000 extra houses on green fields but now it will be even more than that.

'We have been treated worse than anyone else in Hampshire. It will absolutely change the look of the borough. I am meeting the housing minister to see if there's anything that can be done about this.

'But the reality is I have spoken to a developer and he said they will just cherry-pick the best sites rather than developing areas in need.'

Portsmouth is expected to have 19 per cent more homes as a result of the targets as the ratio of house prices to incomes is not so high as in Fareham.

However, Portsmouth City Council's housing, Cllr Darren Sanders, believed the annual figure of 835 was out of reach. He said: 'At the last full council meeting we passed a motion saying the target was too high.

'The number of homes decided are significantly above what our planners say is theoretically possible. We are being told to build more homes than Portsmouth has space for. It's a farce.

'The government needs to understand that they're telling us to build more homes than we can deliver.'

Havant's new projection of 463 is only 13 homes more than its original target.

Cllr Leah Turner, head of housing at Havant Borough Council, said: 'To meet the housing target, the council is being proactive and looking to allocate all the sites that are considered suitable for development under the government's latest guidance.

'By being proactive, the council can ensure that developments are the best they can be for the borough and the borough's local communities.'

The government has predicted that between 225,000 and 275,000 new homes are needed in England per year.

If councils fail to deliver the houses needed they could be given harsher targets in the future.



Current local assessment of housing need, based on most recent available document (homes per year)

Fareham - 420

Gosport - 335

Havant - 450

Portsmouth - 740

Indicative assessment of housing need based on proposed formula, 2016 to 2026 (homes per year)

Fareham - 531

Gosport - 238

Havant - 463

Portsmouth - 835