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Council Leader hits out at new housing target

The NHPAU has recommended building up to 53,800 new homes every year in the South East to 2031 – eight per cent higher than the maximum figure it put forward last summer – while it advises building up to 8,200 new homes annually in the North East.

In May, the government endorsed building 32,708 new homes a year to 2026 in the South East Plan and included a target of 35 per cent being affordable, without any guarantee of funding for infrastructure. The plan is subject to six separate judicial review applications. The county council has given its public support to a legal challenge made by Guildford Borough Council.

The NHPAU’s figures are not broken down by local authority but Guildford, Redhill and Reigate and Woking – already selected as growth areas in the South East Plan – are likely to be among the places identified for more homes along with Green Belt land and areas of Surrey bordering London boroughs.

Dr Andrew Povey, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: "My concern is increasingly the sustainability of this house building. It is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect even more homes to be built if it means concreting over large parts of our countryside or failing to put the infrastructure in place to support new developments."

"We repeatedly raised serious concerns about ensuring sustainable development and protecting the Green Belt before the government published the South East Plan with its substantial homes allocation. Building 21,092 homes on top of that each year in the region, many of them undoubtedly in Surrey, is just madness."

"It’s too simplistic to assume that setting higher targets means more homes will be built, property prices will fall and affordability will rise. It’s wrong to ignore the role that local authorities play in balancing development needs with protecting the landscape and the environment. These decisions are best left to local government."

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