The results of Wokingham council's housing target consultation have been revealed.

In June, council bosses asked residents if they believed government-imposed housing numbers were too high’.

Residents had the option of responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the consultation either via a hard copy response form sent out by the council, or online.

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Results revealed today indicated Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) received nearly 50,000 responses in total.

Of this 50,000, 46,807 residents responded with an answer indicating they thought government-imposed housing targets were too high.

This means 94 per cent of all respondents said they did not want to see more than 800 houses built in the borough every year, as required by planning rules.

The consultation cost £46,522 in total - almost one pound for every response. 

Data obtained by resident Annabel Yoxall showed postage was the largest expense for the council, costing the authority £22,800.

Data entry led to the authority shelling out £6,500 and free post returns cost £6,592, at an expense of 41p per return. 

Printing and enveloping meant WBC forked out £6,000, advertising in a local paper set the council back £2,450 and an online video promoting the survey was a £1,000 cost.

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Cllr John Halsall, leader of WBC, said: “Firstly I want to thank all those thousands of people who took the time to take part in this consultation.

“I always believed that residents shared our opposition to the government-imposed target but even I was surprised by the response.

“This will strengthen our hand as we argue that the current system for allocating housing is arbitrary and unfair and that our targets are always too high.

“We will use this overwhelming response in our future lobbying on the subject and, whether we are successful this time or not, this is a line in the sand for the borough.”

Conservative Cllr Halsall had previously suggested legal action could be taken against the government to solve the housing dilemma.

Labour councillor Andy Croy suggested the results of the consultation will not change how many homes will be built in the borough, telling the News the Conservative administration should have tried to persuade former PM Theresa May and other MPs to change the law around housing requirements. 

He said: "Government inspectors apply the law, they can not be influenced by things like this. 

"MPs have to change the law. We had a Prime Minister in our borough for the last three years and nothing changed."

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Speaking about the results and the cost of the consultation, he said: "It was a waste of money - all it told us was something we already knew. 

"The next thing they will consult on is where large furry animals go to the toilet. 

"It is utterly ridiculous. 

"It is a Tory party exercise to say they have got some sort of control over the situation. 

"We have got school crossing patrollers disappearing and carers needing more support - these are the things we should be spending money on."

Liberal Democrats councillor Clive Jones told the News "other things could have been done with the money" but suggested the final cost was "reasonable".

He added: "We do have to try and reduce the number of houses coming here. 

"We told the Conservatives it would be around 94 per cent - we have been finding the same response on the doorstep for the last three years. 

"If we don’t do something this borough is going to become like Twickenham, where there is hardly andy green spaces and there are just houses for miles and miles. 

"We have got to make developers build the right houses, not what makes them the greatest profit. 

"We need to have what people need here and at the moment that is one and two-bedroom apartments and bungalows for older people, not six-bedroom houses."

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Overdevelopment has been a contentious issue in Wokingham for a number of years and councillors have slammed central planning policies and rules which currently demand more than 800 homes are built in the borough each year.