The government is set to raise its annual housebuilding target to 300,000 in a move likely to spark a war with Conservative councils in the Home Counties
The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that communities secretary Sajid Javid has been given backing by prime minister Theresa May for a tougher line on housing allocations by local authorities.
The paper quoted an ‘official’ who launched an attack on councils in wealthy areas for blocking new homes. It is unclear whether the source is a civil servant or a ministerial special adviser.
The ‘official’ was quoted as saying: ‘Selfish Conservative councils need to smell the coffee or there won’t be a Conservative Party in the future. We have to end the tyranny of a well-heeled minority who complain a maisonette built within five miles will ruin the view from their “in-out driveways” and orangeries.
‘They have the cash and clout to bully everyone else into submission. It cannot go on.’
The Mail on Sunday said that Javid is ready to ‘shame’ council leaders who underplay their need for new housing.
Local authorities will be ordered to carry out a ‘full and frank’ audit of their area and explain how they will meet demand, the paper said. It is unclear how this approach would differ to the current Housing Needs Assessment process carried out by councils.
Javid is set to promise an increase in the number of homes built each year to 300,000 from 190,000. The Mail said that the figure related to homes built across Britain, although the 190,000 figure seems to relate just to England, a statistic published by the government in November.
The move to is set to raise the hackles of Middle England, in a battle reminiscent of that which took place when the government announced the draft of its National Planning Policy Framework.
That document provoked a backlash from the Daily Telegraph, which ran a high-profile campaign called ‘Hands off our Land’, which resulted in a number of changes in the final document.