The government has told Watford Borough Council not enough homes have been built in the town in the last three years.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick has also told mayor Peter Taylor that the council must "consider all options available to you to increase housing supply".

Mr Jenrick's letter, dated February 14, comes at at time where overdevelopment in Watford is considered to be one of the most pressing issues in the town.

Figures show 956 homes have been built Watford in the last three years, falling short of a government target of 1,371.

In his letter to the council, Mr Jenrick said: "I understand these targets are very stretching and that each area has its own unique challenges.

"But the UK needs 300,000 homes a year. It is vital every local authority, including Watford plays its part.

"You will need to work with your local community and consider all options available to you to increase housing supply. I appreciate this is no easy task. You will need to continue to consider innovative solutions to tackling delivery issues."

Responding to the letter Watford's mayor said: "I think residents will be shocked to discover that central government believes we are not building enough new properties in Watford. Nobody disputes that our town will change and some new homes are needed.

"But the target we have been given is simply too high for a town of our size. We should have far more say over the future of our town so that we can make sure we get this right."

Watford Observer:

Mayor Peter Taylor

In December, the council granted planning permission for 1,200 homes on The Range site in St Albans Road, which includes 28 and 22-storey towers.

Watford Observer:

A CGI bird's eye view of The Range scheme

Liberal Democrat councillors came underfire for approving the scheme. Moustafa Alam, who spoke against the scheme at the planning committee meeting, accused the council of "not listening to its residents".

In response, Lib Dems councillor Iain Sharpe, who is responsible for development at the council, said trebled housing targets from the government were to blame for the council making "unpopular" decisions, like The Range scheme.

Read more: Lib Dems blame government housing targets for decision to approve 28-storey tower

Other schemes are ongoing in Watford, including 1,000 homes near the hospital, 500 in Sydney Road, and nearly 500 in Ascot Road.

Watford Observer:

CGI of flats in Sydney Road

Watford Observer:

Ascot Road

Watford Observer:

Between 2015 and 2018, the council approved 2,470 homes.

Mr Jenrick's letter to the council comes months after Mr Taylor told the government he did not believe the targets could be met.

In its draft local plan, which sets out where development could take place over the next 15 years, the council says it can only build 460 homes a year, with the government demanding an "unrealistic" 800 a year.

Read more: Housing targets 'unachievable' for such a small authority

The Observer asked the town's MP Dean Russell whether he agreed with the mayor that housing targets for Watford were "unrealistic".

He said: "If it turns out these numbers are unrealistic, I will make sure residents get the best outcomes. I want to see more detail of these targets and understand why they can't be hit.

"If I think actually there isn't a way of building all these homes, I will gladly go to the government and fight for residents."

Mr Russell added that he has had discussions with government ministers over Watford's housing targets, but said also that he wanted to work collaboratively with the council.

Watford Observer:

Dean Russell

He said: "As an MP, I have no say over planning decisions. It is easy to play party politics over planning but the reality is there is a target there.

"What I'd say to the council is get me on board.

"But I think there is a duty from the council to be open - planning is in their realm. I would also urge the council to ensure residents' voices are heard when local planning decisions are made."