Council chief has ‘ambitious’ plans for home-building

A £330million house-building programme could be heading to Northumberland.

The ten-year plan has been set up by Northumberland County Council’s Labour administration to meet a housing shortage.

The group argues that almost 2,000 extra homes need to be added to the council’s stock to keep pace with demand, with 380 planned in north Northumberland, 860 in the south-east and 670 in the west.

Councillors say the programme, which will create hundreds of construction jobs and more than 400 apprenticeships, would be funded by prudential borrowing, Government grants and agreements with developers.

Stage one, which would be funded through the Housing Revenue Account and borrowing, would include feasibility studies, planning applications and training for council workers to deliver projects.

In the south-east, the first 108 homes have confirmed funding and building work could start within seven months.

Council Leader Grant Davey said: “Our programme to build affordable houses across Northumberland is the most ambitious project undertaken by the authority and its partners for many years. We’re putting in place a ten-year plan to tackle the scandal of a growing housing waiting list, which is designed to span administrations so it’s vital that the politicians agree to invest in this.”

Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson said: “I’m wondering why the Labour group refused to back the Conservatives two years ago when we suggested that the county builds a new generation of council housing. Effectively, that is what they are proposing now.”