Welwyn Hatfield Council 'disappointed' after missing house-building target

PUBLISHED: 13:37 15 June 2018

The former Xerox complex in Bessemer Road, now known as Times Square,is being developed by Chase New Homes.
Picture: Chase New Homes

The former Xerox complex in Bessemer Road, now known as Times Square,is being developed by Chase New Homes. Picture: Chase New Homes

Archant

More than 260 new homes were built in Welwyn Hatfield over the past year, but that's not enough, according to the borough council.

The council fell short of its goal for houses built last year.The council fell short of its goal for houses built last year.

Data presented to the local authority’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee showed 266 new homes were completed in 2017/18.

During the same period 28 properties were demolished, giving a net total of 238 homes.

However, that is significantly below the target of 498 additional properties, set by Welwyn Hatfield Council in the Draft Local Plan.

It was also 43 per cent lower than the 415 homes outlined in the previous Annual Monitoring Report.

The council report says this was largely due to slower than expected rates of building on some of the larger developments, coupled with a number of demolitions being completed ahead of schedule.

The report shows that in 2016/17, the council significantly exceeded the target for additional homes. They had anticipated 380 homes would be completed, but the actual figure was 506.

According to the report it is expected that in future years the number of new properties would increase.

Following the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, a spokesperson for Welwyn Hatfield Council said: “Although the figures for house-building in 2017/18 are disappointing, the factors that have contributed to this – including demolitions being completed ahead of time – were hard to foresee.

“The council still has big plans for house-building over the next few years in the borough and is committed to delivering development in the right places through the Local Plan process.

“We are also putting long-term measures in place to ensure the same glitches which slowed down the completion of some schemes will not be repeated.”

Welwyn Hatfield Council is currently conducting a Green Belt Review to potentially build around 16,000 homes by 2032 as part of its Local Plan.

It comes after the local authority’s previous target of 12,500, known as the objectively assessed need (OAN), was revised in response to recent national household and population projections.

The latest hearings will take place later this month.

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