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At last, some home truths

PUBLISHED: 14:52 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 23 August 2010

HOUSE-building targets have been raised to tackle long-term homes shortages and rising prices, according to the government. Last week your Reporter revealed the government was expected to increase aggressive targets across the South-east. The government

HOUSE-building targets have been raised to tackle long-term homes shortages and rising prices, according to the government.

Last week your Reporter revealed the government was expected to increase aggressive targets across the South-east.

The government said a "modest" four per cent increase, published last Thursday in the revised South East Plan, will take the total to be built per year to 33,125 across the region.

It is a much lower figure than suggested by the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, which recommended an increase of between 18 and 55 per cent.

Gravesham will see no increase on its figure of 465 new homes per year, amounting to 9,300 to be built by 2026.

Council leader Mike Snelling, who chaired the sub-committee when deciding initial figures for Thames Gateway, said: "The government has faced reality when it comes to Gravesham, with no increase.

"To be honest this is good news. Although some areas may dispute increases, we are quite pleased with the outcome for this borough.

"When I chaired the committee we always said we could accommodate the 9,300 over 20 years on brownfield sites. Any increase would mean looking at greenfield and Green Belt, which is not acceptable. It is also satisfying to see we got our numbers right from the start."

Dartford's annual target has increased 9.5 per cent to 867 per year, equalling 17,340 by 2026.

The government also revealed there are more than 200,000 households on council waiting lists in the region and more than 7,500 homeless households in temporary accommodation.

Last week Dr Hilary Newport, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), warned: "This should remain about regeneration and not sheer numbers of housing.

"We must remain vigilant and take into consideration the current market instead of setting a 20-year plan and pushing ahead no matter what."

A consultation on the changes has begun and will run until October 24.

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