I REFER to your article on June 10 regarding the letter sent by the Christchurch Independents to the Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government, Robert Jenrick.

It highlighted the out of date 2014 Office of National Statistics figures, which if used to calculate housing numbers for the BCP area, will result in certain loss of swathes of our green belt.

I want to draw the attention of your readers to an update from Office for Statistics Regulation. They are also unhappy with the 2014 figures still being used by the Government and state that this may cause an over-estimation of population growth.

They say the ONS should be vocal in speaking up against the use of the out of date figures.

This is exactly what we are saying to Robert Jenrick, that common sense should prevail and up to date, evidenced housing projection figures should be used.

Your article quotes a Government spokesman as saying “the standard method is the starting point for calculating the number of homes required in an area, not a target. Councils are best placed to determine their local housing need and set their own targets.”

They also say it gives “stability and certainty”.

If that is the case, then BCP Council must challenge the Government now, and use the latest figures. The Council’s Housing Needs Assessment will underpin the new Local Plan, and it must be based on credible data, not figures which are seven years old. The only stability and certainty given is that they are using the wrong figures.

I will keep pushing hard on this issue to ensure precious green belt land is not allocated for housing which is not required.

Cllr Margaret Phipps Christchurch Independent Commons Ward, BCP Council