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15Oct92 UK: HANTS REBELS ON HOUSING TARGET.

Hampshire County Council wants to slash its allocation of sites for new homes by almost one-third in an open rebellion against Government plans for new building.Its action could encourage other South-East counties to cut their housing totals, under pressure from environmental groups.The House-Builders' Federation has slammed the move, accusing Hampshire of 'abdicating its responsibilities as a planning authority.'HBF regional planning officer Peter Court said: 'Hampshire is saying it does not want so many houses. This is OK for people who already have houses and jobs, but we say houses are needed for people on council waiting lists, first-time buyers and those who will move to Hampshire to find work.'Other councils last week accepted allocations based on a projected 855,000 extra homes in the region by 2006. This figure includes houses built since 1991 and is taken by the Department of the Environment from census returns.Hampshire's share of the total should have been 92,000 homes, but the county council insists it has space for only 61,000.Council planning chairman Dudley Keep said: 'The housing figure we are being asked to accept makes no allowances for the period of rapid growth we have experienced over the past 30 years. We need time for consolidation, restructuring and environmental improvements.'If Hampshire's move succeeds, either the total of new homes in the region will have to be cut or space found elsewhere. Environment Secretary Michael Howard will take the final decision.London boroughs are already carrying out a review of land availability for new building which is expected to lead to claims that they cannot accommodate the 260,000 new homes allocated to them.Berkshire has accepted its allocation of 40,000 new homes only as a basis for consultation and is expected to try to cut the figure to 36,000.Similarly, Surrey is expected to try to cut its 36,000 allocations to 31,000.