Housing developers will not catch up on backlog ‘any time soon’

PUBLISHED: 07:09 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:19 30 August 2017

Archant

Housing targets mean developers have eight years to build 12,000 homes in North Somerset – but at the current rate, it would take them 21 years to manage it.

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North Somerset Council originally set itself a 14,000 home target, but Government inspectors said this had to increase to 28,985.

Even if house-building accelerated, the health and transport infrastructure is not in place to match the population growth.

North Somerset Council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees, who has responsibility for housing, said there is no incentive for developers to work more quickly.

He said: “Unfortunately unless the Government brings in powers to insist on planning permissions being implemented in full within a specified time scale, or offers funding to cover all the infrastructure costs subject to an accelerated building programme being agreed, big developers will always ration housing releases to ensure house prices continue to give them a minimum 20-25 per cent profit margin.

“I don’t see us catching up the backlog any time soon.”

Cllr Ap Rees warned it is a catch-22 situation, as even if building rates accelerate, infrastructure such as schools, roads and health services to cope with the population growth, is just not there yet.

Although the council has allocated enough land to accommodate 20,985 homes, in July it was told it needed to set aside even more sites.

This was because the planning inspector believed the houses in the original plan could not be delivered quickly enough.

Executive members will 
discuss the latest land allocations at the next council meeting on Tuesday.

House-building figures, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, show how most homes have been built by private developers rather than housing associations.

The number of homes completed by housing associations has been steadily declining.

Caroline Hughes, head of development at Knightstone Housing, said: “We’re committed to building more affordable homes in North Somerset, working with our developer partners and North Somerset Council to secure more sites to deliver more homes for the area.”

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