Affordable homes are "high priority" says Wigan Council

The council says affordable housing is a 'high priority' after new figures revealed that new homes are not being built fast enough across the country.

Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 12:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 1:58 pm
Coun Terry Halliwell and resident Angela Durkin outside the recently built affordable homes in Holt Street

The town hall’s announcement came in the wake of new findings that dwellings are appearing across Wigan at 83 per cent of what a government assessment estimated the area should need.

The average amount of homes being built between 2007/08 and 2016/17 was 829 per annum, just beneath the government target of 992 and the council’s own goal of 975. This includes both new builds and other additions such as conversion of existing buildings.

The results were fairly similar for the region. Bolton built 69 per cent of homes it was estimates to need over the same period. Salford reached 84 per cent, while St Helens was 76 per cent on target.

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The analysis by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit revealed that a decade after the recession, less than one in five areas of England are building enough homes every year at a pace to meet the Government’s medium to long-term housing need estimates.

The majority of areas have still not got back to supplying new homes at the same rates they were before the economic crash.

Although overall house-building rates have been going up nationally year on year since hitting a post recession low in 2012/13, the pace of supply is not enough for the country’s long term demands.

There was also a North-South divide, with many areas in the North building faster and in greater volumes than the South. Indeed, some Southern areas such as Kingston Upon Thames was only meeting 16 per cent of its target.

Marie Bintley, Wigan Council’s assistant director for housing and growth, said: “It is a high priority for us to ensure there are enough new homes in the borough at an affordable price.

“A range of housing types are being built in the borough which include housing for first time buyers, to enable them to make their first step onto the housing ladder.”

She added: “Of the 943 house completions in Wigan Borough in 2017-18, 625 were on Brownfield land, which is a completion rate of 66 percent.”

Last year, the council commissioned Seddons to build 20 houses on Holt Street, Poolstock, to create affordable family homes and provide properties for those who may struggle to save for a deposit to get on the property ladder. The council has also brought a number of vacant, council-owned sites back into use.