INSPECTORS from Bristol could take over Wokingham’s housing plans if national policies are not changed.

Currently, local authorities have to provide housing plans for the next five years, meaning Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) should build 900 new homes a year.

WBC has granted 11,000 permissions for homes that have not been built, but according to John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, the “planning establishment took the view that Wokingham had a supply lower than five years” because they looked at the build-rate of the proposals instead of the planning permissions granted.

Mr Redwood called the problem “The biggest planning issue that confronts my constituency of Wokingham is that surrounding the pace of housebuilding.”

Speaking to the News, WBC’s executive member for housing councillor Pauline Jorgensen (CON), said: “We recognise that there is continuing demand for housing in the South East, and particularly in Wokingham borough.

“But we believe that the Government’s targets for Wokingham borough are too high, and other areas need to take their fair share of new homes.

“We call on the Government to allow local authorities to decide where it is most suitable to build houses, rather than letting appeal inspectors in Bristol overturn planning refusals for applications that are in breach of local planning policies.”

“We continue to build affordable homes in suitable locations, via our wholly owned local authority housing companies, to enable more people to rent or buy, and particularly for young people to get onto the housing ladder.

“Last year we delivered over 500 affordable homes and are ambitious to continue and grow this activity in future years.”

Responding to Cllr Jorgensen and John Redwood MP’s comments, opposition councillor Carl Doran (LAB) said: "John and Pauline are complaining about a system created by their party.

“The Coalition and Tory Governments (with the help of John's votes) created a planning climate overwhelmingly favourable to developers and continually urged them to build more, build bigger and build faster - while allowing them to hoard land and house prices to inflate.

“John Redwood says the biggest issue is the pace of house building. He's wrong. The biggest issue is the lack of genuinely affordable homes and council housing.

“We have approximately 2000 families on the housing waiting list in Wokingham and the number continues to rise. Thousands more are overburdened by high rent and unable to save for a deposit or unable to afford to leave home.

“The true number of genuinely affordable homes built in Wokingham last year would be closer to 60.