Date of Proceeding: 18.04.2007
Reference: 459 c111WH
Member: Lilley, Peter
Title: Housing (Hertfordshire)
Description: I agree entirely. We need to know the causes of the extra housing targets because they will influence the nature of that housing and the size of the units that we need to build, and therefore the nature of the communities created. It is important that we get an answer, finally, from the Government as to why the housing targets are constantly rising. Are they expecting an accelerating decline in household size? Is that the sole factor lying behind house building or is it, as most of the public assume, because more people are expected to be coming to live in Hertfordshire?
It is my belief, and I have said this before, that the housing growth in Hertfordshire-perhaps a third of the total growth-is largely due to an increase in the population. That increase is not because the birth rate exceeds the death rate in the area, but because more people are moving into it. They are moving in not from the rest of the United Kingdom-from the north, Scotland and Wales-but from London. The increase is not the direct consequence of immigration from abroad-relatively few immigrants move direct into Hertfordshire-but the indirect consequence. Very large numbers of people come to live in London. The substantial bulk of the flow from abroad comes to live in London, and then Londoners of all ethnicities move out to the home counties. That is the pressure that we are facing. If that is the case, that has different consequences for the number, the size and nature of houses that we need to build. The Government should come clean on whether that is what they envisage happening.