The South-East has to find space for 200,000 new homes says Jack Jay

 

 

 

 

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sets targets for the number of homes it wants to see built in each region of the country by a specific date. Under a guidance note he issued two years ago, local authorities in London and the South-East are already committed to allow the building of 62,000 new homes a year for the next 20 years. This target has now been increased by a further 10,000 new homes a year. The implication is that instead of having to absorb 1.24 million houses over the next 20 years, the South-East will have to absorb 1.44 million. That is the equivalent of about 30 Oxfords or 20 Brightons.

 

Will it stop there?

 

No. Besides demanding an extra 200,000 homes within the next 20 years, Mr Prescott made some vaguer, but even more dramatic, projections up until 2031.

 

Between now and then, he says, Milton Keynes and the south Midlands could absorb a total of 370,000 new homes. Ashford could have 31,000 new homes and the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor could have between 250,000 and 500,000. No corresponding figure was given for the Thames Estuary, but that is supposed to be the biggest expansion zone of all.

 

Why so many houses?

 

For a start, there will be more of us in 20 years. Common wisdom holds that the population of the UK has settled down from the explosion seen during the 19th and early 20th centuries and is now …