A call has gone out to developers for more family homes in Reading.

Reading Borough Council has called on housebuilders to provide more three and four bedroom homes to meet local demand.

New Government figures show the council has again surpassed its rolling three-year target for new homes with 2,080 delivered against a target of 1,598. However, 43 per cent of those have only one bedroom and many are small flats.

Council leader Cllr Jason Brock said: “Whilst we, of course, welcome the fact that Reading continues to surpass its housing targets, if you scratch below the surface you very quickly find the new homes being built are not necessarily the homes that Reading most needs.

“There will always be demand for small one-bedroom flats in a major employment hub like Reading, but the biggest demand we have is for family homes. Some people will fixate on traditional houses in that description but it also includes larger flats, which are completely suitable for family living and a great many families live in flats across the town. Indeed, not all houses are automatically family homes.

“Forty-three per cent of new homes built over the last three years in Reading are one bedroom, but Reading needs more than 50 per cent of its new homes to be family-sized homes of three or more bedrooms and that demand is not being met by developers.

“Our own council house building programme – the largest in a generation – is focused on provision of family homes, but we do not have the ability to fully compensate for the market’s failure to deliver what is needed.

“The council calls on developers to do the right thing for Reading by building the homes the town needs.”

Of 320 local planning authorities tracked by the Government, 51 failed to reach 75 per cent of the target they were required to. The numbers Reading achieved represent 130 per cent of its target.

Councils failing to reach 75 per cent become subject to the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’, where council control over applications is reduced.

Cllr Tony Page, lead councillor for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: “For a number of years the trend by developers has been to submit applications for small one bedroom flats in Reading. Whilst this allows the council to show up well on rudimentary Government spreadsheets, these are generally developments which are not meeting Reading’s core housing needs. Such developments bring with them major challenges for the local authority in terms of ensuring the correct infrastructure is also in place.

“The council, of course, is not in control of the type of applications we receive from developers and under planning laws good planning reasons are required for refusal. We do know, however, that these developments are extremely profitable for them. I very much hope to see more applications for family homes coming forward in the years to come, which is what Reading desperately requires.”

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