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Ministers could see rise in the number of houses built in back yards

Half of Cabinet ministers could see a big rise in the number of houses built in their back yards under controversial planning algorithm

  • Ministers introduced system for deciding how many homes needed in each local authority
  • Formula put forward in bid to meet national target of 300,000 new homes a year
  • But Boris Johnson is under pressure from some Tory MPs to ditch the system 
  • 15 ministers facing huge increases in number of new houses needed in local area

More than half of the Cabinet could see a major rise in the number of houses built in their back yards under a controversial planning algorithm, a Daily Mail investigation has revealed.

Ministers have introduced a formula for deciding how many homes are needed in each local authority in a bid to meet a national target of 300,000 new homes a year.

Boris Johnson is under pressure from some Tory MPs to ditch the system following concerns that greenfield sites will be built on simply because the algorithm claims more homes are needed.

Now the Mail can reveal that 15 Cabinet ministers are facing huge increases in the number of new houses needed in their local area.

Boris Johnson (pictured this week)  is under pressure from some Tory MPs to ditch a controversial planning algorithm under which more than half of the Cabinet could see a major rise in the number of houses built in their back yards

For example Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s local district in Elmbridge, Surrey, planned to build 225 new homes a year but the algorithm states that 774 are needed. The three districts in Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Witham constituency see increases, including Braintree (273 to 776) and Colchester (864 to 1,612).

The London borough of Hillingdon, containing Mr Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, sees its allocation almost quadruple from 559 to 2,026. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and Stephen Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, are also badly affected.

The algorithm, in the housing white paper, considers projected local population growth and the affordability of homes in an area. For the first time, it will be compulsory for all local authorities to use the same methodology to decide how many homes are needed to meet the national target of 300,000 new homes a year.

For example Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s (pictured) local district in Elmbridge, Surrey, planned to build 225 new homes a year but the algorithm states that 774 are needed

And the algorithm is fuelling a Nimby storm in the Tory party.

The term Nimby, meaning ‘not in my back yard’, was used in the 1980s by Tory MP Nicholas Ridley to describe opponents of local developments.

Planning consultancy Lichfields translated the algorithm into what it would mean for each authority. The Mail compared this to the authorities’ existing plans, although not all areas had one. Local authorities do not directly match on to constituencies.

Writing on the ConservativeHome website, MP Neil O’Brien said outside London, ‘the formula takes the numbers down in Labour-run urban areas, while taking them dramatically up in shire and suburban areas which tend to be Conservative controlled’.

Last night the Government said the algorithm was open to consultation – indicating it could change in response to Tory anger.

A source said an area’s required number of homes ‘will only be the starting point’ in the process. ‘Local authorities will still need to consider the constraints they face locally to assess how many homes can be delivered,’ he added.

TORY PLANNING ROW: WHO’S AFFECTED

Full members of the Cabinet

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER 

Constituency: Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Main local authority in that seat: HILLINGDON, Annual number of homes predicted in local plan: 559 Annual number of homes under new algorithm: 2026

RISHI SUNAK, CHANCELLOR 

Richmond, RICHMONDSHIRE, 191 to 124

DOMINIC RAAB, FOREIGN SECRETARY 

Esher and Walton, ELMBRIDGE, 225 to 774

PRITI PATEL, HOME SECRETARY 

Witham, BRAINTREE, 273 to 776

MICHAEL GOVE, CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER 

Surrey Heath, SURREY HEATH, 191 to 408

ROBERT BUCKLAND, JUSTICE SECRETARY 

South Swindon, SWINDON, 1467 to 1466

BEN WALLACE, DEFENCE SECRETARY 

Wyre and Preston North, WYRE, 460 to 383

MATT HANCOCK, HEALTH SECRETARY 

West Suffolk, WEST SUFFOLK, 1706 to 743

ALOK SHARMA, BUSINESS SECRETARY 

Reading West, READING, 689 to 700

LIZ TRUSS, INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY 

South West Norfolk, KINGS LYNN AND WEST NORFOLK, 660 to 540

THERESE COFFEY, WORK AND PENSIONS SECRETARY 

Suffolk Coastal, EAST SUFFOLK, 839 to 1660

GAVIN WILLIAMSON, EDUCATION SECRETARY 

South Staffordshire, SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE, 175 to 364

GEORGE EUSTICE, ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY 

Camborne and Redruth, CORNWALL, 2625 to 4054

ROBERT JENRICK, HOUSING SECRETARY 

Newark, NEWARK AND SHERWOOD, 454 to 764

GRANT SHAPPS, TRANSPORT SECRETARY

Welwyn Hatfield, WELWYN HATFIELD, n/a to 667

BRANDON LEWIS, NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY 

Great Yarmouth, GREAT YARMOUTH, 420 to 373

ALISTER JACK, SCOTTISH SECRETARY n/a (constituency in Scotland)

SIMON HART, WELSH SECRETARY n/a (constituency in Wales)

BARONESS EVANS, LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS n/a (no constituency – she is a peer)

OLIVER DOWDEN, CULTURE SECRETARY 

Hertsmere, HERTSMERE, 266 to 668

ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN, INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY

Berwick upon Tweed, NORTHUMBERLAND, n/a to 1172

AMANDA MILLING, TORY CHAIRMAN

Cannock Chase, CANNOCK CHASE, 241 to 575

Attending Cabinet but not full members

STEPHEN BARCLAY, CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY 

 North East Cambridgeshire FENLAND 550 to 844

JACOB REES MOGG, LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 

North East Somerset, BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET, 720 to 1,216

MARK SPENCER, CHIEF WHIP

Sherwood, NEWARK AND SHERWOOD, 454 to 764

SUELLA BRAVERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL 

Fareham, FAREHAM, 147 to 403

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