THE requirement for 945 homes to be built every year in Basingstoke and Deane is “as good as dead”, a borough planning chief has claimed.

The borough council’s Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Rob Golding said the election of the new Government had killed off the ruling that the borough had to build at least 18,900 homes between 2006 and 2026.

Cllr Golding, a Conservative, said: “I don’t see any possibility of us having to build 945.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has produced a new version of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), a controversial document which has previously provoked uproar in places such as Old Basing and Overton because of the sites it suggests could take hundreds of new homes.

The latest version of the SHLAA was produced largely using the assumption that 945 new homes have to be built annually over the 20-year period.

Although he admitted the 945 figure was “as good as dead”, Cllr Golding said the SHLAA was still necessary because the borough would have to build new homes.

“It’s long been this council’s policy to build the homes we need for the local population,” he said.

Now that Conservatives are in coalition with the Liberal Democrats at Westminster, they are able to put into practice their opposition to the previous Labour Government’s South East Plan, which imposed the house-building target on the borough.

Basingstoke’s Conservative MP Maria Miller said that before the election Caroline Spelman, then Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, told councils a Conservative government would revoke Labour’s housing targets.

Mrs Miller said: “It is absolutely our intention to be able to let local authorities to take back control of their planning process.

“I think the SHLAA process is completely discredited and it just exposed how out of touch the planning process has become under 13 years of Labour government.

“I don’t want residents to be scared about the future. They need to be able to determine the future of the community.”