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Housing minister agrees to meet MPs and discuss controversial proposals for thousands more homes in Medway

PUBLISHED: 16:56 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:56 30 October 2017

Rochester

Rochester

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Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst said the proposals add “a disproportionate burden on the Medway town”

The government’s housing minister has agreed to meet with local MPs to discuss controversial proposals for thousands more homes, which they claim are a “disproportionate burden on the Medway towns”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is currently consulting on a strategy to help fix the housing crisis, and has suggested Medway Council needs to provide almost 9,000 more homes, on top of the near-30,000 already earmarked in its local plan - a blueprint used to help shape development and make decisions on planning applications over the next two decades.

The proposals, which represent a staggering 29 per cent uplift in the level of housing to be allocated to Medway, were strongly rejected by the local authority’s cabinet last week, and Conservative council leader Alan Jarrett hit out at his own government and insisted he would “not stand idly by whilst our green spaces and our housing market are decimated”.

At the heart of the frustration for Medway is the seemingly more intense focus on the south east region, where the average rise is some 35 per cent, compared to other areas of the country, some of which have even seen a fall in their level of housing need.

Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst brought the row into the House of Commons on Monday, telling minister Alok Sharma: “The proposed revised housing formula will add a further 8,000 homes to the current target of 30,000 which I believe is unsustainable and undeliverable without large investment in infrastructure.

“Will [Mr Sharma] agree to meet with me and Medway colleagues to look at this disproportionate burden on the Medway towns?”

The DCLG told us last week the proposals were not a local target, but would help make sure there’s a clear and realistic assessment of how many new homes are needed.

Mr Sharma said in response: “Of course I will meet with [Ms Tolhurst]. I should just point out that Medway doesn’t have an up-to-date plan in place at the moment and I would encourage them to respond to the consultation proposals that were set out.”

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