Nearly 380 affordable homes could be built in Worcester by next year, claims Labour (From Worcester News)
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Nearly 380 affordable homes could be built in Worcester by next year, claims Labour
NEARLY 380 new affordable homes could be built in Worcester over the next year, it has emerged.
New data from the city council's planning department shows how Worcester could be in line for a record-breaking 2014/15 if all the developers fulfil their end of the bargain in meeting completion targets.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, over the last year the number of affordable homes built in the city plunged 35 per cent to a modern-day low of just 76.
The drop has led to fierce debates between the city's Labour Party, which was in control over the last year, and the new Conservative leadership about who was responsible for the sharp decline.
The new data has been leapt upon by Labour as proof that they were working on improving affordable housing rates before being ousted from office - but Tory MP Robin Walker has accused them of "all talk and no building".
City council planners say if all developers deliver on their completions, by April 2015 378 new affordable homes will be built.
It includes the likes of the 160-property St Gregory's Bank Industrial Estate development, by St Modwen, and the 180-home scheme by Robert Hitchins off Newtown Road.
Dozens of other plots are underway elsewhere in the city where developers have promised a set number of affordable homes in return for planning permission.
Typically, economic factors tend to prevent many houses from ever being built so the final tally will only be known by next summer.
Councillor Geoff Williams, former Labour city council deputy leader and current planning committee chairman, said: "At a time when Government investment in affordable housing is at an all-time low, Labour has done very well in getting so many affordable homes ready for completion this year.
"It can take at least 18 months for new housing to move from plans to bricks and mortar."
He insisted the figure of 76 affordable homes in 2013/14 was an "appalling legacy" of old Tory administrations rather than anything in Labour's control.
But Mr Walker said Labour has presided over "abject failure" and should not have campaigned over trying to boost affordable housing only to see numbers drop.
"Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day but Labour’s approach seems to be all talk and no building," he said.
"I am relieved we have a credible team back in power at the Guildhall and a Government in Whitehall focused on delivery."