No more houses without investment in infrastructure

Sajid Javid has announced changes to the way planning authorities calculate how many homes they need to build in their area.

For Maidstone these changes mean an increase in the housing target from 883 to 1,236 more houses a year, for Swale it's going up from 776 to 1,054 .

I spoke to the Communities Secretary immediately after he made this announcement to share my concern about the consequences of growth without the accompanying infrastructure needed.

The housing targets for Maidstone and Swale are already extremely high and the local roads network is under enormous pressure, with congestion becoming the norm rather than the exception, even outside rush hour.  Thousands more houses will see more cars on the road, more children needing places in school and more GPs and health facilities required to meet the vast increase in population. 

We do desperately need affordable properties, so that the next generation have a chance to own their own home. But new housing must be in the right places and accompanied by appropriate investment in infrastructure

The new method of calculating housing need is based on Office for National Statistics projections of household growth, adjusted for affordability. This means that more homes are required in areas where house prices are more than four times median earnings.

The changes will not apply immediately if the Local Plans for Maidstone and Swale are submitted for examination by 31 March 2018, however they will apply when the plans are reviewed.