Fall in waiting list for housing

Labour councillors have welcomed news that the county’s housing waiting list has shrunk by more than 17 per cent since they formed an administration in June last year.

Labour announced the figures at a meeting of the economic prosperity scrutiny committee last week, but they have accused opposition politicians of ‘snubbing the meeting because it was good news’.

The fall in the housing waiting list has meant more than 2,000 people across the county have benefitted from the affordable-housing pledge in the 2013 Labour manifesto to build more than 2,000 affordable homes by 2017.

In the first year, more than 400 new affordable homes have been built or are being programmed for development.

The leader of the Labour Group and the council, Grant Davey, said: “I cannot praise the strategic housing officers, Homes for Northumberland staff and the Homefinder team enough for their brilliant work and joint effort in achieving this level of improvement in our first year.

“It shows Labour is working for the people of Northumberland even through this extended period of austerity and it’s a pity that no Coalition councillors chose to attend the meeting where I’m sure they would have welcomed this great news.”

One of the main areas of policy for the Labour administation in its first year has been the launch of its drive to build affordable homes across the county.

Plans for 48 new properties on land south of Dandsfield Square, Amble, were approved in February, the first in a string of schemes in north Northumberland.

An application for 20 new homes on land at Fairfield View, in Shilbottle, was submitted in May, while a bid for 16 homes on the former quarry site in Embleton went in last month.

Completion dates for the schemes are anticipated from October next year through to the middle of 2016 and if all the phase-one plans were to be approved, it would mean 150 new affordable homes in the north of the county.