Mayor Peter Taylor has written to the Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to call for a cut to Watford’s housing target and changes to national planning rules.
The letter outlines how the arbitrary targets, imposed by the Conservative government, are unsuitable for Watford. Watford is already a dense borough in comparison to neighbouring areas, and the target to develop almost 800 new homes each year would inevitably result in high rise buildings that are out of keeping with the local area. Current housing targets take no account of the existing population density in an area or the amount of land available, something Mayor Taylor wants the government to change.
The Mayor has recently taken on the planning portfolio at the Council to secure the adoption of Watford’s local plan this autumn.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said “It is so important for the future of Watford that national planning rules change. Many people are worried about the number of high rise buildings we are seeing here, including me. These are the inevitable consequence of the unfair housing target of 800 new homes each year we have been set by the government and national planning rules. Given the lack of space here, this is the result.
“The government needs to give more power to local people to decide what is right for our area. Housing targets must take into account how densely populated an area already is and the amount of land available. Watford is an already busy place and is only 8 square miles. The government's system for calculating our housing target does not take this into account. This must change.
"The Conservatives have taken places like Watford for granted for too long. It is time the government took notice of local people and what we want. We must see our unfair housing target cut and more power for local people to decide what is best for Watford."
Read the letter in full here.