THERESA MAY has called for a meaningful vote on the government’s housing plans which could see Wokingham borough forced to build 1,635 homes a year.
The Maidenhead MP – and former Prime Minister – spoke about Wokingham’s problems in a debate on planning reform and house building targets in relation to the White Paper held in parliament on Thursday, October 8.
She said that Wokingham was a victim of its own success.
“Wokingham Borough Council, over the last three years, has seen the delivery of homes over and above their target, but their target of 789 homes per year is now to be more than double to 1635 homes per year.”
She then gave way to James Sunderland, Bracknell MP, who backed up Mrs May, saying: “Councils like (Wokingham and Bracknell Forest), very well run, should also be best placed to understand the local requirements rather than having housing targets imposed on them.”
Mrs May agreed, saying that Wokingham should be “congratulated for doing that”.
“If you’ve delivered in the past, you’re being forced to deliver even more in the future,” she continued. “Yet by definition, if you’ve delivered in the past, you’ve got less land on which to deliver in the future.
“It just doesn’t seem to make sense, whereas those who haven’t delivered are being rewarded by lower target numbers.”
She told the chamber that this opinion was shared by parish councils across the borough, who wanted the government to devise a realistic and manageable plan for housing numbers “that does not create more problems than it solves”.
The algorithm that suggested housing numbers wouldn’t deliver a “single extra home”, but instead would see developers put in planning permission applications.
Again, speaking of Wokingham borough’s situation, she said: “One of the difficulties is that councils often find because of the way the five year land supply is calculated, that they reject a planning propose a planning permission, it’s then allowed on appeal because there isn’t a five-year land supply. Why not count previously granted planning permissions in the five-year land supply, giving developers an incentive to actually build them out?”
She closed her speech by telling the chamber: “What this new algorithm does is regards levelling up is flies in the face of the government’s flagship policy.
“So, my point is simple. These proposals do not deliver on government policies, the government needs to think again, and come back with a comprehensive proposal to this house for a proper debate and, dare I say it, a meaningful vote?”
To see the speech, visit Parliament’s website