The Thames Gateway, Ashford and Milton Keynes will be the focus of major housing developments after deputy prime minister John Prescott announced specific homes targets for the South-east.

Prescott said 43 000 homes were required in the next five years.

In a statement to the Commons, he said: “The Thames Gateway will become a hub for development and regeneration,” adding that he also wanted well-planned developments in Milton Keynes and Ashford in Kent.

The House Builders’ Federation broadly welcomed the announcement, but a spokesperson warned: “Councils are currently rejecting a lot of applications because they believe they are too dense for their local area.”