Watford’s Mayor has urged the secretary of state for housing and communities to rethink the housing targets set on Watford.

Mayor Peter Taylor is continuing to hit back at the government’s housing targets imposed in Watford, after complaints that it has tripled in Watford.

Housing targets jumped from 313 homes a year in 2017 to 2018, to 789 homes in 2018 and 2019.

He addressed his concerns to Michael Gove, the new secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, expressing the impact that such targets have on towns like Watford.

In a letter on Thursday (December 23), Mr Taylor mentioned how Watford failed to meet the 2018-19 target and onwards.

 

An example of a scheme in Watford that has received planning permission but not been delivered yet. Shown is a CGI of a 25 storey tower made up of 168 flats in Clarendon Road in Watford. Credit: Regal London

An example of a scheme in Watford that has received planning permission but not been delivered yet. Shown is a CGI of a 25 storey tower made up of 168 flats in Clarendon Road in Watford. Credit: Regal London

 

In January this year, the results of the Government's housing delivery test showed Watford Borough Council had only met 48 per cent of its target for 2017 to 2020.

Out of the 1,873 homes required over this period, 874 were completed, which is well below the Government's 95 per cent target.

He said: “As a result we have failed your Housing Delivery Test; there is now a presumption in favour of new development in Watford and we have to produce an action plan on how we will increase housing supply in the future.”

The Lib Dem mayor continued: “The government’s current formula for calculating housing targets means that no account is taken of the very limited space we have available.”

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A 24-storey tower under construction in Ascot Road

A 24-storey tower under construction in Ascot Road

 

Mr Taylor called it a “crude formula” and that the current goal is “neither desirable nor achievable”.

The letter concluded: “To meet the target set for Watford, we would have to increase the total number of dwellings in the town by a third by 2036. Given the very limited number of locations in the town, this can only be achieved by building significantly taller buildings.”

When the mayor was approached by the Watford Observer, Mr Taylor said it is “important” that he understands the problems that places like Watford faces as Gove currently reviews the current planning rule.

He added: “Our housing target was tripled to a level that is simply unfair. We must give local communities more power to decide their future and be able to insist on new public services before new developments.

“I will continue to press the government to make fundamental changes to the planning system so that local people have more say on the future of the town and we are able to stop inappropriate, over development.”