New property builds hit record low in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 17:30 27 May 2014

Archant

THE level of new houses being built in North Somerset hit its lowest recorded level in more than 30 years in 2013/14.

New figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show construction started on just 180 new properties between April 2013 and March this year, a drop of 340 from the previous year, despite a national rise of more than 30 per cent.

The news comes hot on the heels of a Government ruling which insisted North Somerset find room for up to 25,000 new homes by 2026.

North Somerset’s executive member for strategic planning Elfan Ap Rees said that the council had earmarked sufficient land to meet housing demand - even allowing for the requests from central government to increase the amount available - and that figures would pick up in the coming years.

Government data dating back to 1980 show the total is the lowest tally on record, with yearly figures in the authority regularly exceeding 1,000 and never dropping below 400.

Just 50 properties in North Somerset began work between July and December 2013, although a sharp upturn saw 130 started in the first three months of 2014 alone.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “The recession has hit house builders quite badly as people cannot afford to invest in new housing.

“We are beginning to see a recovery in the market and we have allocated sufficient land to meet what we believe is the demand over the next five years in North Somerset.

“We do think it will recover locally. We are more concerned regarding listed demand from the government inspector that would considerably increase the number of houses that we are planning for.”

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