A ROW has broken out this week between the government and the South East of England Regional Assembly over new housing targets for the region.
The assembly slammed speculative future housing numbers for annual new build put forward by the government as 'unproven fantasy figures that bear no relation to the regions needs'.
A report was commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to give independent advice for the examination of the draft South East Plan expected in November.
The Government report claims that 46,000 houses could be built annually, some 17,100 more than the 28,900 suggested in the regional assembly's draft plan.
Assembly chairman Keith Mitchell said: 'These figures are pure fantasy. There is no clear evidence base behind the figures or the way they have been allocated across the region.
'In contrast, ' he added 'we have devoted more than two years to ensuring our plans are practical and deliverable, balancing the need for homes with environmental concerns and ensuring a high quality of life.'
Mitchell continued: 'Strong technical work and the country's largest regional planning consultation means we have built a high degree of consensus behind the South East Plan - it is disingenuous of the Government to try to counter our democratic decision because they do not agree with it.'
Mitchell described the Government's report as 'back-of-the-envelope stuff compared with the robust evidence base developed by the Assembly.'
'With the support of public opinion too, I am confident that we will have the strongest case at November's Examination in Public.'