Conservatives will scrap "unsustainable" building targets

Arundel & South Downs MP and Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herbert has said that the Conservatives will scrap Government targets that could see the construction of tens of thousands of new houses across West Sussex.

The South East Plan, published by the Government last week (6 May), sets out a target to provide 654,000 new houses in the South East by 2026 - or 32,700 a year.

For West Sussex, this will mean an extra 74,600 houses or an average of 3,730 a year.

The figure for West Sussex represents "no change" from the proposals published by the Government last year, but they are an increase of 16,600 houses, or 28.6 per cent, on the target of 58,000 recommended in the draft South East Plan in 2006.

Based on an average of 2.5 people per home, 74,600 new houses will mean an extra 186,500 people, nearly twice the population of Worthing.  The number of people living in the county will increase by a quarter.

Under the South East Plan, Arun district will have to provide 11,300 new houses by 2026 (565 a year); Chichester district - 9,600 new houses (480 a year); Horsham district - 13,000 new houses (650 a year); and Mid Sussex district - 17,100 new houses (855 a year).

Nick Herbert commented: "The Government continues to ignore the concerns of local authorities who say that housebuilding on this scale is unsustainable and there is inadequate infrastructure, like roads and schools, to support it.

"I believe that more affordable homes are needed, especially for young people who are struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder, but the Government should abandon its approach of imposing top-down targets from Whitehall.  Instead, it should introduce proper incentives for local councils to build more homes and give local people a say over the right level of development for their communities."

Mr Herbert added: "A Conservative Government will scrap these building targets.  We will also tear up the South East Plan and the whole system of regional planning, returning powers to local councils where they belong."



Notes for Editors

1. For a copy of the South East Plan, visit

2. For a news release published by the Government Office for the South East (GOSE), visit

3. In 2006, the draft South East Plan was published by the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA), recommending that West Sussex should provide 58,000 new houses by 2026. An independent Inspector raised this to 64,100 in 2007 and, last year, the Government raised the figure to 74,600.

4. For a copy of the Policy Green Paper entitled ‘Control Shift: Returning Power to Local Communities', published by the Conservatives, visit

Christopher N Howarth