Hundreds of affordable homes pledged

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A PLEDGE to build hundreds of affordable homes across Northumberland has been given by county politicians.

The Northumberland Labour group says it will support the development of 1,300 homes over four years if it takes control of the county council following May’s election.

Members have identified Morpeth as one of the areas for development, and they say they will not touch the county’s green belt, with brownfield sites identified as the preferred option.

The Party says the initiative could create at least 500 construction jobs a year and will help to maintain 3,000 jobs in the supply chain, while a craft apprentice training scheme would be set up.

Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: “Over the last five years communities have been crying out for affordable homes and we’ve listened.

“Our plans would build at least 1,300 new affordable homes over the next four years, which would create new jobs and support existing ones.

“If the people of Northumberland elect a Labour majority in the council chamber on May 2 we will bring forward detailed plans to kick-start the Northumberland economy through the most ambitious affordable house-building programme in the county for over 40 years within the first 100 days.”

The plan is to use prudential borrowing to enable Homes for Northumberland to build the properties, with the council borrowing the money, then lending it out for house building and recouping it over 25 years.

The authority’s arms-length regeneration company Arch, which the Labour group says has assets of more than £60million, would also be encouraged to expand the use of its immediate housing stock and assist in buying void and hard-to-sell properties for rent.

A new Housing Need Survey from the council suggests that at least 240 new homes are needed each year over the next decade to ease the housing waiting list, which is estimated to be between 11,500 and 12,300 people.