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Torfaen target on new ‘affordable’ homes beaten by 14 per cent but housing need is ‘much higher’

A report presented to Torfaen councillors showed information about the number of new homes that had been built in the county from 2006 to April 2023.

Councilors were asked to approve a report showing the council’s performance against its targets in the Torfaen Local Development Plan (LDP). The LDP sets out where new housing, and other developments such as factories and employment bases, should be located across Torfaen.

Torfaen’s latest LDP covered the period from 2013 to 2021 but remains in place. Work started in August on finding new sites for housing and business in the county. From 2006 to 2021 the council had a target of 4,700 homes but by 1 April 2023, 4,312 had been built. This was 91.7% of the target. Out of the total, 3,019 were sold at market value and 1,293 were ‘affordable’, so a mix of types including social housing and shared ownership.

The report says that the 388 remaining homes should be built within the next one to two years.

Affordable housing

From 2006 to 2023 the target was to have 1,132 ‘affordable’ homes built in Torfaen. The report says that 1,293 were built, beating the target by 14 per cent. But report author Robert Murray, the council’s principal planner, wrote: “It should be noted that the total affordable housing need, was and still is, much higher than the LDP target.”

Over the next five years, its predicted that 318 homes a year will be built, and this is above the LDP’s requirement of 308.

S106 contributions

The report also explained how much contributions housebuilders have made as part of their investment in community services and facilities. During 2022/23 the council was able to secure 30 affordable homes and payments totalling £913,392. This included £30,020 from the homes built on Ventor Road in Old Cwmbran to be used towards adult recreation and children’s play. The company building homes on the former police college in St Dials paid £53,378 for ecology improvements.

Councilors approved the report and it will now be sent to the Welsh Government.

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Torfaen target on new ‘affordable’ homes beaten by 14 per cent but housing need is ‘much higher’

The Civic Centre in Pontypool
The Civic Centre in Pontypool Credit: Cwmbran Life