The revised regional spatial strategy for the east of England, published by communities minister Parmjit Dhanda, says that Chelmsford, Dacorum, St Edmundsbury and Welwyn & Hatfield BCs, and St Albans & City DC, have been earmarked for extra housing growth.
The designation implements a recommendation by independent inspectors in their report following the public inquiry into the draft regional spatial strategy (RSS). The towns will receive£28m to support the planned housing growth.
25,000 new homes a year
The RSS also confirms that 508,000 new homes will be needed across the region by 2021, equating to 25,400 a year.
The 508,000 figure is 30,000 more than that proposed by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) in its draft RSS. It says that 35% of the new housing must be affordable, increases the target for new jobs across the region from 440,000-452,000 and sets the first east of England-wide waste recycling target.
Mr Dhanda said: "Beyond the short-term squeeze of the credit crunch, our population is still ageing and more people are choosing to live alone, meaning new households are growing faster than new homes.
"If more homes are not built now the housing ladder will get even further out of reach, leaving the next generation with nowhere to live."