Crawley Borough Council has been told it will have to build 10,125 homes by 2030.
The figure is 2,000 more than stated in the council’s Local Plan – which is undergoing its Examination in Public – and the increased numbers left some councillors shocked.
The instruction to increase the housing quota came from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) after it was learned Crawley’s projections had not been calculated using the most up-to-date data available.
Deputy leader Cllr Stephen Joyce said he almost fell off his chair when he read the new figure.
The amount of land available for development within Crawley’s boundaries is tiny compared to surrounding authorities and Cllr Joyce said there was only space for 5,000 new homes.
He added: “Because we’re saying we can only provide so much, we will be looking for the outside boroughs to help us.”
That help – known as Duty to Co-operate – is a legal requirement for neighbouring authorities to show they have worked together on cross-boundary matters.
Cllr Peter Smith, Cabinet member for planning and economic development said he had been concerned the change in numbers had been so high but understood why the DCLG had made the change. He added: “It’s not really a matter of them telling us we’ve got to meet it, it’s them saying we have to base our projections on sensible and sound data.”