A REVIEW of housing targets could spell the end of a 2,200-home development in the north of Colchester, it has been announced.

Colchester Council has agreed to look at its development plans after the Government announced regional strategies and “top-down” housing targets will be scrapped.

But the council could earn as much as £20million if it builds the homes in Mile End.

Leader Anne Turrell said the review would reassess if the borough needs to build 850 homes a year and the sites allocated for the houses.

Mrs Turrell said: “We are re-looking at all the housing targets and we will relook at all the sites.”

It means the unpopular plans for at least 2,200 homes on 100 hectares of land off Nayland Road will be reassessed.

Jill Brunning, a campaigner for Love Myland, which collected 1,234 signatures calling for a re-think on the development, said it is good news.

She said: “Most of the land isn’t suitable because it’s green belt and there’s lots of rare species there.

“The other point is there are already lots of houses that are empty in Colchester.

“I can’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be able to scrap it now.”

The move follows the announcement by local government secretary Eric Pickles that local planning authorities will be able to set their own housing targets.

Councils have been given the option of either sticking with their targets or quickly holding a review.

Any changes would take time because it would mean making changes to policies formerly adopted by the council, including it’s “Core Strategy”, which broadly sets out how Colchester should change.

Karen Syrett, Colchester Council’s spatial policy manager, said Colchester had been growing at a level of about 850 homes a year for decades.

She said: “If you look historically we have been delivering that sort of number for 20 to 30 years on average per annum.

“Any decisions would need to be based on evidence, so we would need to refer to the strategic housing management assessment and the strategic housing land availability assessment.”

The housing assessment suggested as many as 1,425 houses needed to be built to offer a home for everyone wanting to live in Colchester.

Martin Goss, Mile End borough councillor, described the report as “rubbish”.

He said: “I think reviewing them would be good and I think we need to review them downwards by several thousand at least.”

The Coalition Government has promised “incentives” to councils who build houses.

One option is to give the local authority the equivalent of six years’ council tax for every new home built.

The average Band D householder has to pay £1,460 a year, which equates to £8,760 over six years netting the council £19million-plus.