The leader of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council has written to Michael Gove, asking for a meeting about housing numbers.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, written by the council’s leader Cllr Paul Harvey and co-leader Cllr Gavin James, the council said the current system for calculating housing numbers ‘flawed and simplistic’, despite last December’s Government announcement that flexibility would be brought into planning reform.

Work on updating the Local Plan was paused to consider suitable housing numbers for the borough and the council’s cabinet now wants to move forward with it. Cabinet member for strategic planning and infrastructure Cllr Andy Konieczko said: “As a new administration, we recognise how important the Local Plan is in giving our residents certainty about future development in their areas.

“People who have grown up here need the opportunity to set up their own home and get a good job in the borough, as well as enjoying a good quality of life with access to jobs, facilities and services.

“But we are all agreed that the number of homes being built in Basingstoke and Deane needs to slow down so that infrastructure, facilities and services that current and new residents need can catch up. 

“We need to be released from the Government planning straitjacket where the housing figure for our borough is set using national formula that doesn’t consider local circumstances.

“We want to listen to the view of local residents about getting the balance of house-building right. And perhaps the government should adopt the same approach.

“Despite the lack of certainty from Whitehall, we recognise that residents want us to restart the process of updating the Local Plan as soon as possible. That’s what we’re doing – we’re reviewing the policies to make them stronger and exploring options for how best to make the housing number work for our borough.”

A report will be brought to the council’s economic, planning and housing committee soon with consultation intended to take place in Autumn.

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