POLITICAL leaders in Wokingham are still waiting to find out whether they will be hit with a huge housebuilding target.

As part of a proposed shake-up of the planning system, the government is planning to introduce a formula that determines how many homes should be built in each area of the country.

Wokingham Borough Council says this will result in around 1,600 homes being built in Wokingham each year – that’s double the current housebuilding target.

However, recent reports in national newspapers claim the government is now working on a “fairer formula” that would ensure more homes are built in urban areas of the Midlands and the North, rather than leafy areas of the South East.

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It follows a backlash from Conservative MPs and councils across the country, who have been calling for the proposals to be scrapped or revised.

They have been waiting for the government to make a decision since an eight-week public consultation on the proposals ended on October 1, 

“We’ve not heard anything yet, official or unofficial,” Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning, told a Wokingham Borough Council meeting on November 29.

“We’ve not had anything official yet, but let’s hope it is a U-turn.”

The shake-up, which aims to ensure 300,000 homes can be built in England each year, also includes plans to allow developers to build up to 40 or 50 homes without providing affordable housing and extend Permission in Principle, so house builders have a faster way of obtaining planning permission.

A number of senior Tory MPs, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and Chris Grayling, spoke out against the proposals during a debate in the House of Commons in October.

Mrs May said areas like Wokingham, which have met their housing targets in recent years, will punished and the areas which have not built enough homes will be “rewarded with lower target numbers”.

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“We do need to build more homes, but we won’t do that by forcing local authorities to grant more planning permissions to developers so that they can build more homes to bring the price down, because developers simply won’t do it,” she said.

“Far from ‘levelling up’, it forces more investment into London and the South.

“This is a mechanistic approach, and it is ill conceived.”