Minister threatens to take planning powers away from councils as Elected Mayor of Watford warns of growing government pressure to build more homes


The Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has warned of growing pressure on Watford to build more homes after the Housing Minister said he was ‘putting big pressure on local authorities’ that miss their housing targets. Kit Malthouse MP, the Conservative Housing Minister, said in an interview that ‘councils have to hit a percentage of the forecast housing in their plan, and if they don't we essentially take it [planning decisions] out of their hands’.

 

This is on top of Watford’s housing numbers being tripled by the government and the previous Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government saying he was ‘breathing down the neck’ of local councils to build more homes.


Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said, “This current government could not be clearer with councils. Any council that does not build new homes will lose all control of the process with their planning powers taken away. We’ve already seen them threaten this just next door in St Albans.

 

“I’m really clear that we need to make sure that decisions made about the future of town are made here in Watford. There’s massive government pressure to build more and just saying ‘no’ to new homes is not an option. However, we do need better infrastructure to keep up with our growth, which is why I am committed to delivering new on demand bus service and a cycle hire scheme for the town. We also need to make sure that we get the schools, bus links and doctors surgeries too. I am also determined that we have new council houses for local families who really need them.

 

“We cannot ignore the huge government pressure for more homes in places such as Watford. But I will always stand up for Watford, doing all I can to get the right homes in the right places and the infrastructure to go with them.”


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