Councils could lose control of where they build homes if they ignore government targets.

Authorities across the country, including in Watford, Three Rivers, and Hertsmere,  have been consulting with people about each of its local plans.

The local plan identifies how land could be used for future housing or building. In, Hertsmere and Three Rivers, a host of sites have been put forward and people are currently having their say on these sites.

In an interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC radio earlier this month, housing minister Kit Malthouse MP said the government are prepared to “up the ante” for both developers and councils to deliver new housing.

He said that if councils failed to hit a “certain percentage” in its plan, the government has the power to take the decisions out of the council’s plan.

"If they drop below 85 percent of delivery they have to use an action plan, but if they drop below 25 percent delivery the government takes it out of their hands and they lose the ability to control a certain amount of housing in their area."

“We’re putting big pressure on local authorities, big pressure on developers to come together.”

St Albans District Council had to rush its local plan through after government intervention.

In exhibitions across Hertsmere, Cllr Harvey Cohen, responsible for planning, has repeatedly expressed the importance of meeting targets.

He said: “We do these consultations to find out where may be most suitable. If we don’t, an independent planning inspector can come and choose where they like to build homes even if it may be completely unsuitable for the area.”

Leader of Three Rivers District Council, Cllr Sara Bedford, has echoed Cllr Cohen and although she says many of the sites put forward will be “unwelcome to residents”, the council can’t just say “no”, with the risk of control taken away.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor added: “This current government could not be clearer with councils. Any council that does not build new homes will lose all control of the process with their planning powers taken away. We’ve already seen them threaten this just next door in St Albans.

“However, we do need better infrastructure to keep up with our growth, which is why I am committed to delivering new on demand bus service and a cycle hire scheme for the town. We also need to make sure that we get the schools, bus links and doctors surgeries too. I am also determined that we have new council houses for local families who really need them.”