The leader of St Albans City and District Council will write to the Government calling for an update in how housing targets are calculated.

The council is in the process of drawing up its local plan, which primarily identifies suitable sites to meet targets of around 14,500 homes a year up until 2036.

This has left swathes of green belt land - in particular near more rural settlements around St Albans - at extreme risk of being built over by housebuilders.

Local authorities are obliged by Government to draw up local plans which provide the blueprint for future development in an area.

St Albans' local plan process has been lengthy and its current local plan is one of the oldest in the country as a result.

With it extremely unlikely the council will meet a deadline of 2023, the council is now risking delaying the publication of the local plan further in a bid to get targets reduced.

Council leader Chris White says he will be writing to Government to "protest" about the way housing targets are calculated because he says the current data used to calculate targets is based on 2014 data from the Office for National Statistics, which he says is now "out of date".

After being urged by the council's policy committee to write to Government following a meeting on June 23, Cllr White said: "Preparing a Local Plan is one of the most difficult challenges that any local authority is faced with.

"I will be writing to the Secretary of State demanding he updates the method and is more reasonable about the approach to this vital issue. I am sure I will have the support of many of my district council colleagues in other parts of Hertfordshire who are in the same boat."

After a big public outcry, Hertsmere Borough Council "shelved" its local plan but has committed to working on a new one.

Three Rivers District Council is also delaying the process by repeating a consultation with residents about its plans later this year, while Watford mayor Peter Taylor has called for a reduction in the housing target set for his town.