A public enquiry into how many homes should be built in Dacorum began yesterday (Tuesday).
Dacorum Borough Council has created a core strategy for 11,300 new homes in the area.
This includes 8,800 homes in Hemel Hempstead, 1,180 in Berkhamsted, 480 in Tring, 200 in Markyate, 130 in Bovingdon and 110 in Kings Langley.
The figures cover the period from 2006 to 2031, including homes already built since 2006.
The plans are part of a scheme to provide enough homes for a growing population – and the government’s Planning Inspectorate will have to approve the proposals.
In the first day of his hearing, inspector David Hogger asked if empty office space in Hemel Hempstead could be turned into residential homes.
The council said it would be needed for offices as the economy recovers.
But Clive Harridge, from the Crown Estate, criticised the council for basing a 25-year home-building strategy on five-year economic forecasts.
He said: “That’s piecemeal planning, which goes against the grain of what this core strategy should be seeking to achieve – which is the future development needs of this borough.”
Others said more Green Belt should be released for home-building and that the council should work more closely with neighbouring authorities.
Firm Grand Union Investments says that the inspector should let it build 800 homes on land it owns in Berkhamsted to fill a housing need there.
Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG) says this is on top of hundreds built there since 2006 will make the town too big for its infrastructure.
Mr Hogger will examine all options at Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre between 10am and 5pm from Tuesday to Thursday this week and next.
Learn more at www.dacorum.gov.uk