Waltham Forest’s 10-year housing target has been reduced by more than 6,000 homes, sparking an argument about the borough's own plan.

The Mayor of London reduced the target from 17,940 to 12,640 after a report revealed smaller sites were being over-estimated and the original figure might not be deliverable.

Waltham Forest Council’s draft local plan currently aims to build 27,000 homes in the next 15 years, an average of 1,800 per year.

At the growth scrutiny committee on Tuesday (January 21), Cllr Emma Best argued the council should respond by lowering this number, insisting “a high target does not help more people”.

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Cllr Best (left) opposing plans to extend South Woodford flats in 2016 (credit: Mark Soanes)

She said: “I think the original targets are unachievable and won’t help anybody we have in our casework.

“There is a real question of how we can make those targets and make sure they are good developments and go to the right people that need them.”

She raised the concern that the borough could “end up with rubbish accommodation” in an effort to build enough homes.

The current plan aims to deliver 1,300 homes a year in the first five years with larger sites being developed later in the 15 year period or beyond.

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Cllr Sally Littlejohn argued that though the Mayor of London's figure was the “main goal”, there was no reason the borough could not have its own target.

“We recognise housing need in the borough is greater,” she said, “I do not see any point in reducing those figures.”

Responding to Cllr Best’s concern about low-quality housing, committee chair Cllr Marie Pye insisted the council had “not passed a single application for a rabbit hutch”.

She also said there was a dire need for more housing, referencing a wheelchair-reliant resident she was aware of, who had “three steps up to her toilet” but “no hope of getting rehoused”.

A divided borough

Cllr Pye and Littlejohn both represent wards in the southern end of the borough, whereas Cllr Best is the Conservative councillor for Endlebury in Chingford.

A report presented to the committee noted residents in north Waltham Forest were particularly concerned about high growth changing the character of local areas, despite the fact fewer homes are planned for this area.

A minimum of 15,000 homes are planned for south Waltham Forest, focused on Lea Bridge, Low Hall, Church Road, Leyton, South Leytonstone, Leytonstone District Centre, Whipps Cross and Bakers Arms.

A minimum of 8,000 new homes are planned for the centre of the borough and a minimum of 4,000 new homes are planned for the north.

After a vote, the growth scrutiny committee decided against Cllr Best's recommendation and determined the discussion was more appropriate for the housing scrutiny committee.