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Affordable housing scheme over next decade ‘justified’ by housing market assessment

Cllr Paul Griffiths, the deputy leader of Monmouthshire County Council, pictured on Monnow Street (Pic: LDRS)

A PLAN to increase the number of affordable homes over the next decade has been “justified” by an assessment of the housing market. 

That is according to the deputy leader of Monmouthshire council who is responsible for its future planning blueprint which will require 50 per cent of a potential 2,125 additional new homes that could be built over the next decade be affordable. 

Councillor Paul Griffiths said the council’s local housing market assessment, which it has had to carry out for the Welsh Government, has shown the county needs 499 additional affordable homes per year until 2027. 

That is more than 1,400 homes over the next three years and the assessment has shown of the 499 required every year across the whole of Monmouthshire, 409 should be for social rent, 44 for intermediate rent which is less than the market rate and 46 should be low-cost home ownership properties. 

Cllr Griffiths told the cabinet the assessment justifies the requirement in the replacement local development plan, introduced by Labour after it formed the cabinet following the 2022 local government elections, that 50 per cent of new housing is affordable with 30 per cent being for social rent. 

“That is more than justified by the data in this report,” said Cllr Griffiths referring to the housing market assessment which he presented to the cabinet and covers the period 2022 through to 2037. 

Following the initial three year period the assessment found a need for 90 affordable homes a year over the remaining ten years, with 48 for social rent, 25 intermediate rent and 17 low-cost home ownership. 

It also estimates a need for 126 market homes throughout the county per year, which would be 86 for private rent, 68 per cent of the total, and 41 owner occupier properties 33 per cent. 

The replacement local development plan, which the council will be asked to endorse and submit to the Welsh Government when it will be subject to independent examination later this year, sets out where new housing and employment sites should be located through to 2033. 

It could provide for up to 6,000 new homes in that period of which 4,085 have either already been given permission, been built or are under construction or on smaller sites and ‘windfall’ sites meaning the plan has to find land for approximately 1,660 to 2,125 new homes, of which 830 to 1,065 would be affordable. 

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The 499 figure in the housing market assessment isn’t intended as a yearly building target as the council says bringing empty homes back into use, acquisition of existing homes and working with private sector landlords can all contribute towards the supply of affordable homes.