Taking action to deliver new homes and jobs is one of the council’s six corporate priorities, and it was great to announce this week that a record number of new homes were built in Bath and North East Somerset during the past year.
At the start of the week I went along to take a look at some of the new affordable social housing properties being built by Charlcombe Homes Ltd in Tyning Road, Bathampton, and was joined by Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods.
Housing is a major issue – and not one which just affects our area - but by building more new homes, particularly on brownfield sites, we can help more local people get onto the housing ladder and own a home of their own, while at the same ensuring we also have the right mix of social and rented accommodation to meet our area’s needs.
A total of 871 new homes were built in the 2016/17 financial year, representing the highest number since Bath & North East Somerset Council was created in 1996, and significantly higher than the long-term average over the last 20 years of around 450 per year. Of the new homes built in the past year, the majority (57%) were on previously developed land, and 193 were affordable.
This demonstrates we are delivering on the council’s Core Strategy Development Plan, which set targets for 13,000 new homes, including 3,290 affordable units, between April 2011 and March 2029.
And to support this further, we have also earmarked £3.5 million in the council’s budget to support the delivery of new affordable housing projects throughout the district in the coming years.
With new homes comes new infrastructure as is the case at the 700-home development at Mulberry Park, in Foxhill, where a new school is being built to provide additional spaces.
On Thursday, I was invited to the topping out of Mulberry Hill Primary School, which is being built as part of the development, and will open its doors for the first term in September 2018. I look forward to seeing the completed school next year as well as the many new homes being built there.
The week is ending with a meeting of the Local Enterprise Partnership which brings the region together to discuss shared issues and is another good example of how working strategically with our neighbours benefits us all.
Finally, I’m hopeful Bath’s return fixture at the Rec against Toulon on Saturday will claw back those narrowly-lost points, 24-20 from last weekend.