Wiltshire's target for new homes is currently short by 7,000, according to a government-appointed inspector.

Wiltshire Council’s Core Strategy, which sets out its aims for the county over the next 12 years, was submitted this summer, and called for 37,000 new homes to be built across the county.

However, in a letter sent to the council as part of a review of the strategy, planning inspector Andrew Seaman has claimed this figure will fall short of what is needed.

In it, he said: “Rates of migration undoubtedly influence levels of housing need and I have had regard to the Council’s balancing housing markets model.

“However, a housing figure as low as 37,000 homes over the plan period does not appear justified.

“My current interpretation of the evidence leads me to find that the objectively assessed housing need across the three Wiltshire HMAs (Housing Market Areas) would be in the region of 44,000 homes for the plan period.”

The Council’s strategy was shaped by feedback from communities, businesses and organisations over the last four years.

Toby Sturgis, cabinet member with responsibility for strategic planning said that the points raised by the Inspector will be considered and responded to.

He said: “This is the latest step in the process which will lead to the adoption of a plan that outlines where jobs and homes can be located to ensure Wiltshire's communities can grow in an appropriate and managed way.

"The Inspector has highlighted some areas where we need to provide more information. One of these areas is our housing allocation figures, which he believes needs to be higher.

“We will be looking into this and providing more information. As we have done throughout this process, we will be keeping people updated via our website."

The full letter from the inspector is available at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wiltshirecorestrategyexamination