Home Counties warn they cannot meet London's housing shortfall

More than 20 councils in the Home Counties have expressed concerns to London mayor Boris Johnson that his key planning document does not meet the capital's level of housing need, warning that a potential overspill from the city could put strains on their local services.

London: gap between housing supply and demand will affect neighbouring councils
London: gap between housing supply and demand will affect neighbouring councils

The fears were raised in response to the Greater London Authority's (GLA's) consultation on the draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP), which sets the capital's ten-year housing target at 42,000 homes a year.

The councils pointed out that the plan's target falls well short of the annual housing need of 49,000 to 62,000 homes, set out in the GLA's own strategic assessment.

Many called for the mayor to do more to increase housing supply in the capital and warned of increased pressures on their roads, railways, schools and health services.

The GLA has begun contacting authorities outside the capital to "strongly advise" them to take account in their local plans of a potential gap between London's housing supply and a growing demand.

Umbrella group South East England Councils said it would "not be viable or sustainable" to assume or imply that London's unmet housing needs could be met, in part or in full, in the South East. It called on the GLA to "do more to meet its own housing need", including reviewing the capital's green belt.

A consortium of authorities in Surrey and Sussex, including the Coastal West Sussex and Greater Brighton Joint Planning Board, said many South East authorities were already facing "significant challenges" in meeting their own objectively assessed housing needs.

Catriona Riddell, the Planning Officers Society's strategic planning convener, said: "Councils are concerned that this is being imposed on them by London and they have no voice in this."

Sir Edward Lister, the GLA's deputy mayor for planning, said the mayor was "simply recommending common sense, co-ordinated regional planning to ensure London and the South East's housing needs are met over the coming years".

Ruling out a green belt review, he said the mayor was "already engaging with authorities in the wider South East" on the implications of the FALP.

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