Borough could face City housing pressures as London population booms

Library image of house building.
Library image of house building.

Dacorum and other neighbouring borough councils could come under pressure to increase the number of houses it builds if London’s population continues to boom.

The area’s Green Belt land could also come under attack as demand soars and planners search for housing sights.

That was the warning from planning consultancy boss Barney Stringer from Quod during a meeting of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

He told the audience of business people: “There are some big challenges because London is going to be telling all the local authorities around it, you need to up your housing allowances, you need to meet demand.

“London is failing to meet its needs. London needs 60,000 new homes per year.”

He said the plan to build 42,000 homes each year in the City is, in reality, only delivering around 20,000. “There is a huge shortfall,” he said.

It means London’s growing population will look to home counties such as Hertfordshire to set up home, while still commuting into the City for work.

London’s demand for employees is also predicted to continue to grow, which means companies in Herts may struggle to entice the workforce, which can earn more in London, said Mr Stringer.

“That is a real risk in terms of labour and skill shortages and the cost of labour as well, as we are competing against London businesses,” he said.

Dacorum Borough Council is currently working towards a housebuilding target of 10,750 homes over 25 years, from 2006 to 2031 – that’s 430 new homes per year.

A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council told the Gazette: “The government requires Dacorum along with other councils to plan and allocate land for its own needs yet there is requirement for us to co-operate with adjoining and nearby areas. We have not received any formal request from London in terms of its own need. At the current time the council is investigating how it best provides for local housing needs within the local housing market area and expects to bring forward issues and options for consultation in 2016.”