Housing Need and Planning Reform

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

What recent discussions he has had with the Office for National Statistics on housing need and planning reforms.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We regularly engage with the ONS on many issues, including the role of household projections within the local housing need standard method. The hon. Gentleman may also be interested to learn that, alongside the planning reform White Paper, Ministers and officials have hosted and attended a very large number of consultation events. We are always interested in working with stakeholders and experts on proposals, and we welcome the expertise that the ONS brings.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

Like communities up and down the country, the people of Warwick and Leamington are extremely concerned about overdevelopment and, in villages such as Bishop’s Tachbrook, urban sprawl. When we look at the numbers from the district plan, we see 932 homes supposed to be built per year and the Government’s figure from their “malgorithm” is 910 homes per year, whereas the ONS estimates 623 properties a year and, likewise, Lichfields 627. There seems to be a huge disparity between the figures from the ONS and Lichfields versus those of the Government. Will the Minister agree to meet me to discuss and explain the reasons for that because, on the face of it, the figures do not stack up?

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I am always happy, of course, to meet the hon. Gentleman, although he may be misinformed in so far as I think the local housing need for his own constituency and local authority is 627 a year, not the 910 that was projected in the Lichfields projections in the middle of last year. However, I am always very happy to meet him, and I am sure at that time he will be very keen also to put on record his great pleasure in receiving £10 million in future high streets funding for Leamington, because his Boxing day tweet, in which he seemed to rubbish this spending, did smack a little of “Bah, humbug!” It seems that Ebenezer Scrooge does not live simply in the mind of Charles Dickens; he is alive and well, and living somewhere in Warwick.