A CONTRACT worth nearly £1.7m has been awarded by a council to build affordable housing.
Fareham Borough Council will give Brymor Contractors Ltd the cash to build 16 one-bedroom flats near the town centre.
The flats in Palmerstone Avenue will be affordable housing as the council looks to build 500 new cheaper homes by 2017.
There will be residents parking.
A planning application for the flats was agreed by the council in July this year after the original was rejected over parking issues.
But after the problems were resolved, the council’s planning committee gave the application the green light.
With the contractors agreed, the flats are expected to be ready by April 2016.
At an executive meeting, concerns were raised by Councillor Paul Whittle about how long it had taken for the process to get to this stage seeing as the land being built on was owned by the council.
The Lib Dem opposition leader, who also represents the ward the flats will be built in, said: ‘As Fareham east ward councillor, I have been in support of this development from the outset.
‘My concerns are around the fact that it has taken such a long time to bring this forward.
‘The need for this sort of housing is great.’
Cllr Whittle questioned what the cost was to the council for the long planning process and what would be done to stop the same mistake happening again.
Executive member for health and housing Councillor Brian Bayford said no mistake had been made.
‘The council has the same rules as any member of the public when it comes to planning applications,’ he said.
‘At the committee meeting, it was decided that there weren’t enough car park spaces and, although the application was recommended by officers to be approved, the planning committee rejected it.’
He added: ‘The extra cost is around £250,000 because of the decision to accommodate a few more parking spaces.
‘We have decided to include balconies so at the end of the day, I think we got a better scheme.’
The expected total costs of the flats is £1.95m but the council secured an Affordable Housing Grant of £320,000 from the Homes and Community Agency.