New home estimates under fire.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics, predicting a 20 per cent increase in the number people looking to move into their own homes by 2026, were openly ridiculed at a public inquiry into revisions to the Regional Spatial Strategy.
The West Midlands Regional Assembly, representing 38 local authorities, said the figure was "simplistic" and simply assumed that past levels of growth would continue despite the impact of the worst economic recession in living memory.
A regional assembly housing spokeswoman said projected growth in population assumed that the number of economic migrants from eastern Europe would continue at a high level.
But this was unlikely given the weakness of the pound, which meant that EU citizens could earn more in their own countries.
Council leaders said they fear they will be forced to release too much land for house building, resulting in developers "cherry picking" greenfield sites..