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Prime Minister urged to block new housing developments in Swale by Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

By Paul Francis

The Prime Minister has been asked to look again at new housing developments in a part of Kent.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson urged the government to intervene and rethink increasing housing targets for Swale.

The borough council aims for 776 homes a year to be built under its local plan until 2031, a total of about 10,000.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

Following a review of the local plan, the council's target could be lifted to up to 1,050 new homes a year from 2022.

At Prime Minister's Questions today, Mr Henderson said: “Over the last 20 years we have seen large-scale housing development.

"We feel we have already accepted more than our fair share of new houses.

"Will the Prime Minister order her ministers to take steps to reduce the housing targets being imposed on Swale?”

In reply, the Prime Minister said the government had delivered 220,000 new homes in the last year, the highest number of all but one year over the last 30.

She said: “I absolutely recognise the concerns he raises and the fact that people are concerned when they see proposals for new developments in their area.

"But we do need to build the homes the country needs so everyone can afford a decent safe place to call their own.”

She added: “And we need to help more young people on to the housing ladder. Young people today worry that they will not be able to get on to the housing ladder.”Speaking after his appearance in the House of Commons, Mr Henderson said he was not happy with the Prime Minister’s answer.

He said: “The only part of the answer that satisfied me was her final words where she suggested having a meeting with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

“Housing is a huge issue in our area. It has been a long standing concern of mine that Swale Borough Council have to obey targets set by the government.”

Swale council cabinet member for planning, Cllr Gerry Lewin (Con) said: "I'm grateful to our MP for his question and his observation on the housing numbers being imposed on us. We fully support his line of questioning.

"These targets will increase the strain on the infrastructure and highways. It’s going to be difficult for us to accept these high numbers.”

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