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Number of houses built in city soars
THE number of new houses built across Worcester has surged 50 per cent in a year, it has emerged.
The Faithful City is proving an attractive place for developers to invest – with 316 properties completed in the 2011/12 financial year.
That compares to just 210 in 2010/11, which was the third lowest figure since 1996 and has been blamed on the world economic meltdown.
The figures include 75 new affordable homes built last year, compared to 59 the previous year.
The city centre, St John’s and Warndon were the areas most popular with developers.
Councillor Geoff Williams, chairman of the city’s planning committee, said: “The key issue still remains that the Government needs to release more finance for housing, and needs to promote the take-up of mortgages.”
Coun Robert Rowden, a former leader of Worcester City Council and current vice-chairman of the planning committee, said: “Worcester is certainly not recession-proof, but there are places where it tends to bite a little less.
“As a planning committee we give permission for new homes but an important factor to remember is, sometimes developers don’t get on with it.
“We’ve seen a lot of buildings converted into flats within the city boundaries and I think that’s made a real difference. But I do wonder how we’ll get more larger homes, because that’s where we struggle.
“If we had properties with extra room and more bedrooms, people would move into them and that would free up more starter-homes.”
The figures, revealed in a new city council study, show how house building was much higher in the boom years of the late 1990s.
In 1996/97 688 properties were completed in Worcester, followed by 508 the following year before it went back up to 645.
It fell significantly at the start of the last decade to below 300, but recovered to well over 400 from 2005 onwards and remained high until the recession hit.
The report says there are more than 400 unfinished properties still under construction across Worcester, suggesting this year’s results will rise further.
Coun Jabba Riaz, the cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “It’s good that builders building new houses – it helps satisfy demand for people moving to the area and boosts the local economy.
“But we do need more affordable housing to help first-time buyers and address homelessness.”
Worcester has a 4,500-strong waiting list for affordable homes.