HUNDREDS more homes could be in Bracknell Forest over the coming years than originally expected — and local politicians are not happy about it.

Under new reforms touted by government chiefs, England’s planning system would designate land into three categories — growth, renewal and protection.

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This overhaul also includes a new method for calculating the number of homes that should be built within each borough and local area.

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According to planning experts Lichfields, Bracknell Forest could be forced to build 805 homes every single year under the new method.

This is an increase of 190 from the current requirements.

Commenting on the government’s plans, Conservative MP for Bracknell James Sunderland said the increase in homes was 'not right' for the area.

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He told the News: “I commend the government for its white paper on house-building as it will streamline the awkward, convoluted and time-consuming process whereby permissions are granted for new builds.

“However, I am concerned by the proposed new targets for both Bracknell and Wokingham as our councils already have good local plans and have delivered against them.

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“We must be careful to preserve our quality of life, protect our open spaces, avoid further congestion in an already densely populated part of the country and listen to those who already live in East Berks.

“The government's levelling-up agenda means levelling up right across the UK so the imposition of unsustainable house-building targets would not be right here.

“I continue to work with my neighbouring MPs to ensure that commonsense prevails.”

The purported housing targets have caused a stir in Wokingham borough after Lichfields suggested the housebuilding requirement here could more than double to 1,635 homes a year.

This prompted Conservative council leader John Halsall to slam the reforms as ‘outrageous’ and ‘disgusting’.

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There are also plans to allow developers to build up to 40 or 50 homes without providing affordable housing.

For Bracknell Forest Labour councillor Mary Temperton, the building of cheaper places to live is a big priority in the delivery of new homes.

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She said: “The white paper will almost certainly affect the number of affordable homes built.

“The new [Bracknell Forest] local plan proposes 35 per cent [affordable homes on larger development]. This could be seriously affected by this paper.

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“We do not need five-bedroomed mansions. We need homes that are affordable. We need homes for our young people, for our young families, for older residents to downsize into.

“We need homes with space to move in, not rabbit hutches. The homes should be well insulated and have a zero carbon footprint.

“This white paper seems to be a ‘developer’s charter’. The developers will decide what they build, and where.

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“Targets are set on building for the first time. Even though the council cannot control developers and how many homes they complete each year, it looks like it would be the council that would have to pay the penalty if the target is missed.”

Lichfields’ assessments also include regional estimates for the number of homes which could be required to be built under new housing calculations.

According to their research, the Thames Valley could be forced to build 15,683 homes every single year — a 29 per cent increase from the current demand.

Another 6,330 homes are proposed for Surrey and a further 10,726 in Hampshire.

Thomas Parker, a Liberal Democrats councillor at Bracknell Forest Council, suggested the slew of homes coming to this part of England “doesn’t help the country”.

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He added: “Housing is always a tough balance and whilst I would agree that in Bracknell we need more housing there are two key problems.

“The first is that the government scheme, which is aimed at "levelling up" actually pushes all of the housing development to the South East, which doesn't help the country more broadly.

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“Secondly, we know that a very low proportion of these houses will be genuinely affordable to ordinary working families and, especially when combined with changes to the size of developments where the affordable housing criteria applies, building more houses won't necessarily mean we meet the actual demands of the community.”

A consultation on the government’s changes to the planning system is currently up-and-running and closes on Thursday, October 1.

It can be found here: