BUILDING 800 homes on green belt land will reduce the Bromley borough's historic housing shortfall overnight', according to a developer.

Asprey Homes won an appeal against Bromley Council's decision to block a proposal to build on a 34-acre Blue Circle Site in Bromley Common.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears agreed with the Planning Inspectorate's decision to overturn the borough's objection following a public inquiry in August.

The council had been against the plans due to it being on green belt land.

Asprey Homes is now planning to build 800 homes on the site, approximately 300 of which will be affordable housing managed by a housing association and available for rent or shared ownership.

Philip Langford, managing director of Asprey Homes, said: "It is our belief the main reason the Secretary of State found in favour of this development was because of the council's inability to demonstrate a five-year planning supply.

"There is a historic shortfall of 1,500 in their housing which is why the Urban Development Plan Inspector last year recommended four sites in Bromley should be released."

He added: "This development will take pressure off the existing urban areas where house builders are winning appeals on the basis of Bromley's historic housing shortfall.

"It will overnight reduce the housing shortfall and will assist Bromley in winning appropriate planning appeals."

Three of the borough's four green belt sites have subsequently been granted planning permission - including the Oakley Road allotment site, the Blue Circle Site in Bromley Common and a site in Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, over which the council lost a costly High Court Appeal.

Leader of Bromley Council Councillor Stephen Carr said: "Residents can remain confident we will continue representing their views to try and ensure our borough will remain the same and not be changed forever."

THE NEED FOR HOUSING

ACCORDING to half-year performance figures published by Bromley Council's housing needs service, there are 4,741 people on the housing register wanting accommodation or a change of residence.

This figure is up 25 per cent from 3,787 in the period 2000 to 2001.

During the same period, the number of housing association properties available for social housing has gone down from 943 to 289.

The number of people currently in temporary accommodation is 720.

A council spokesman said: "We work to prevent homelessness and have been successful in halving the number of homeless applications over the last three years."