SOUTHEND Council is lagging far behind new housing targets set by Government and could need another 34 years to meet them figures have revealed.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government jointly set out annual housing targets with local authorities up to 2026 and published these in September 20171.However, building in 316 locations identified by a new study is set to fall short of housing need by 889,803 homes over the decade. Some of these areas are keeping pace with housing requirements but just one year in, 241 locations are already in deficit, leaving them 9.2 years behind target on average.

Figures show Southend is by far the worst town or city outside London for meeting its targets, and is set to be 8,405 homes short of what it needs by the end of 2026

Data from the ministry shows Southend is building 250 homes a year and if it does not speed up, it will take 34 more years to build enough homes to meet the new housing stock target .

This is based on an average figure over nine years and is far more than other local councils, with Rochford taking ten years to meet its targets, Castle Point 13 years, Basildon nine years and Thurrock 15 years.

The council, however, says it is now building 340 homes a year – more than the 325 agreed in its local plan up to 2021.

Nevertheless, this is still far behind areas like Wakefield which has a similar target to Southend but is building 1,241 new homes each year.

James Courtenay, deputy leader, of the council said: “Our existing and approved local plan to 2021 seeks to deliver 325 homes per year. We have delivered above this target, with an average of 340 houses built per year across the plan period to date.

“In July this year, the Government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework re-evaluated our area’s housing need using a new formula. This calculates the housing need as over 1,100 homes per annum. This however, is different from a housing target, as the NPPF sets out how local authorities should establish plans that seek to meet the area’s need.

“We are now in the process of preparing new plans to see how and what proportion of this need can be delivered sustainably in Southend and further afield in south Essex, with regard to other planning considerations.”

Mr Courtenay added: “Given that we are only three months into the publication of the new NPPF and the government is to undertake further consultation with councils in the new year, it is premature to make any meaningful forecasts on what will or will not be delivered through our new local plan.”

The research of Government data was carried out by Project Etopia which produces modular homes and school buildings that can be built in under four weeks.