Difficult decisions needed to hit homes target for Harborough district

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More than 300 new houses have been built in the Harborough district in the last six months, new council figures have revealed.

The data, just released by Harborough District Council, show that since April 1, 2015, the district has seen 311 properties built – ahead of the council’s annual target.

But the council’s planning spokesman Cllr Phil King said more “difficult decisions” on housing applications still need to be made. And the council has still not achieved its five-year target on housing land.

Harborough District Council has been told by the Government that it needs to build 475 new homes every year.

With an average 2.3 people living in each house in the UK, it means that the district’s population could increase by around 1,100 people, or 1.3 per cent, every year.

The Government has also said local authorities need to have a ‘five-year housing land supply’ in place or risk housing developments being imposed upon them.

Even with the current rush of new house building, the council is struggling to get to its target five-year housing supply.

The latest figures show that the Harborough district currently has a 4.36 year supply of housing sites, slightly down on the 4.45 year supply they had in September 2014.

Cllr Phil King, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “It is positive that already 311 properties have been built this year.

“It means we are well on course to meet, if not improve upon, our objectively assessed target of 475 homes per year by next April.

“Whilst I am really pleased that the council is moving in the right direction with housing supply, this council will need to continue to take difficult decisions on applications for housing development.

“We must do that, so that we can maintain a five-year supply of housing, and get back full control of our local planning policy and determining where houses are built.”

Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, Cllr Phil Knowles, said: “Can the controlling Conservative group give any solace to people in the situation of opposing planning applications?

“Is the situation going to get any better, particularly when you look at the five-year housing supply figure as it stands today?”