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Affordable housing figures defended

PUBLISHED: 15:27 12 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:23 05 July 2010

Housing bosses in Waveney and Yarmouth have been accused of failing to oversee the construction of enough affordable homes in their districts.

Figures released by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) have revealed 10,700 affordable homes were built across the region during the past two years, representing a 38pc increase.

Housing bosses in Waveney and Yarmouth have been accused of failing to oversee the construction of enough affordable homes in their districts.

Figures released by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) have revealed 10,700 affordable homes were built across the region during the past two years, representing a 38pc increase.

However, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard has seized on figures, which show 34 were built in Waveney and 65 in Yarmouth, to accuse local council bosses of failing to offer enough help to families who cannot afford houses on the open market.

His comments sparked a robust response from Waveney's housing chief, who insisted affordable housing was a priority.

Mr Blizzard said: “This is a shocking performance. There is a real shortage of affordable housing in Waveney and it is one of the top issues raised with me. Those in acute housing need, especially young families, are being let down.”

Mr Blizzard added that, after discussions with housing association officials, he believed Waveney was not working effectively with partners to bid for funding to build affordable homes.

The EERA figures show the eastern region is currently ahead of the government's targets for affordable homes by almost 1,000. There were 695 homes built in Greater Norwich, 1,219 in Cambridge and 303 in rural East Anglia.

Bruce Provan, the Waveney councillor in charge of housing, said the Waveney and Yarmouth area was the smallest in EERA's survey and that it had not been identified by the government as a growth spot for affordable housing. He added that active programmes to build affordable homes during the past two decades meant less land was available.

“The MP's comments are utterly misleading and he should try harder to understand the situation rather than embark on yet more political posturing and council bashing,” said Mr Provan.

“Affordable housing is a top strategic priority for Waveney District Council and despite a number of obstacles to further development, we are determined to provide as much as possible for those in need.”

Mark Burns, head of community services at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “The borough does not have great swathes of building land at its disposal…”

However, he added that the authority had secured increased contributions from developers to provide affordable housing on new estates and was working to provide more homes in the future.

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