Gravesham MP Adam Holloway blames 'mass uncontrolled immigration' for housing crisis (From News Shopper)
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Gravesham MP Adam Holloway blames 'mass uncontrolled immigration' for housing crisis
GRAVESHAM’s MP has blamed "mass and uncontrolled immigration" for a housing crisis in the borough.
Gravesham Council has been sent back to the drawing board with its plans to build 4,800 homes over the next 18 years after a government planning inspector raised "serious concerns".
Nigel Payne wants to see much more ambitious house building targets included in the council’s Local Plan Core Strategy (LPCS) document.
Council leader Councillor John Burden points to internal migration and a growth in the number of elderly residents staying-put in oversized homes for the pressure on housing in the borough.
But Adam Holloway MP says it is a "complete no brainer" when asked what is driving the demand for ever more homes in the area and across the country.
He told News Shopper: "What is behind this is mass and uncontrolled immigration over the last 15 years - it is just a statement of fact.
"Without making any judgement on whether or not that is a good thing that is why we need thousands more homes.
"I am sure John’s right but another overriding reason that we need to build significantly more homes is family breakdown.
"If you have X million people arriving in the country and X numbers in one person households you are going to have a squeeze."
Gravesham Council is going to have to improve on its plan to build 4,800 homes in the next 18 years.
With Gravesham’s population set to grow from 101,700 in 2011 to an estimated 104,900 by 2028, Cllr Burden says he is pleased the area will be getting busier.
He said: "I think Gravesham is a fabulous place to live and it’s great people want to come and live here.
"Unfortunately we have got lots of properties with two, three or four bedrooms with only two people living in them.
"Families need family accommodation and that produces demand for housing plus we have got a lot of people coming in from different parts of the country to join us.
"We have got a growing elderly population which means people are understandably staying in houses they bought and have lived in for many years."
Cllr Burden says he is "disappointed" Mr Payne has asked the council to open up land west of Wrotham Road "as soon as possible" for residential development.
He said: "We have never supported that being released but obviously we have to listen to what the inspector is saying.
"The plan we put forward was the one we believe represents the desires and needs of the community. "The inspector is doing his job and listening to the needs of the government and house builders."
At a meeting of the council’s cabinet this evening members will agree to Mr Payne’s recommended changes to the LPCS subject to a six-week public consultation pencilled in for the end of the year.
A revised strategy would then hopefully be adopted by August 2014.
Gravesham population stats
- Population 2011: 101,700
- Estimated population 2028: 104,900 (based on zero net migration)
- Labour supply set to increase by 1,600 over the same period
- Number of one person households set to grow by 35 per cent by 2028.
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