By Andy Tong
TONBRIDGE & Malling Borough Council has expressed alarm at a stiff increase in the number of new houses the government expects it to build.
According to the existing Local Plan, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is targeting 696 new homes every year.
But the government has come up with a new way of calculating housing needs that could come into force in spring 2018.
The latest assessment sees the annual requirement is set to rise to 859, which constitutes a 23.5 per cent increase.
At the current rate the council is -managing to put up around 650 houses per annum, which means the current projection is within reasonable range.
However, the council insists it cannot be expected to meet the new target.
Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, says: “We have robustly told the government that the proposed methodology for assessing future housing need within the borough has significant consequences.
“It equates to an extra 3,260 new homes over the 20-year Local Plan period. To deliver this level of housing growth would require a growth rate of 1.6 per cent, which has never been achieved in Tonbridge & Malling or indeed by any local authority in England over the period 2001-16.”
Cllr Heslop insisted: “It is in simple terms undeliverable, unless there were to be intervention in the housing and -construction market unprecedented in recent times.”
And he warned: “Even if it were feasible, the result would be a further huge loss of greenfield and greater stress on transport and community facilities which are already under pressure.”