Row over Northamptonshire affordable housing figures

The opening of an affordable housing development in Furnace Lane, Kettering, in September 2010
The opening of an affordable housing development in Furnace Lane, Kettering, in September 2010

The Government has hailed figures which show almost 2,000 affordable new homes have been built in the north of the county since the coalition took office four years ago.

But the figures have been slammed by political opponents in Northamptonshire as proof of a chronic shortage in stocks of affordable housing.

A total of 630 affordable homes have been built in the borough of Kettering since April 2010, with 410 having been built in Corby borough and 360 in each of Wellingborough and East Northants.

In terms of the number of new affordable homes relative to population size, Corby and Kettering do far better than anywhere else in Northamptonshire.

In those boroughs there has been one new home built for about every 150 residents – compared to one for every 210 people in Wellingborough and one for every 240 people in East Northants.

All four areas in the north of the county also do better on this measure than England as a whole.

Daventry did worst in our county, with one affordable home for every 560 people built in the district since 2010.

But Labour’s leader on Northamptonshire County Council said the figures were not high enough.

The party at Westminster has pledged to build 200,000 new homes every year, with the proportion judged to be affordable to be determined by each local authority.

Cllr McGhee said: “We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. For many years there has been a systematic failure to build the homes Northamptonshire needs.”

He added: “If we are to tackle the housing crisis in our area, people in Northamptonshire must be given more say over where the new homes needed locally are built and the power to ensure that first-time buyers from the area are given priority access rights when these houses go on sale.”

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said the figures were evidence that what he called the Government’s long-term economic plan was working.

And he added: “Thanks to our reinvigorated Right to Buy, social housing tenants who once saw home ownership as being out of reach are now getting their chance to take their first steps onto the property ladder.”