DEVELOPMENT of the first new council homes in Fareham for two years has begun on the derelict land once dubbed ‘Fareham’s Berlin Wall'.
The site of the closed Hampshire Rose pub in Highlands Road was acquired by Hampshire County Council in October 2010, but no progress was made developing the site and the borough council bought it in 2015.
Hoardings were placed around the land in 2014, with Fareham North West ward councillor Peter Davies comparing it to the Berlin Wall.
But the wall will come down as FE Chase and Sons Construction, based in Warsash, begin construction of 18 one and two bedroom apartments for social rent on Monday.
Cllr Davies said it was 'great' that the area would see more social housing, but it was 'appalling' it had taken the councils years to develop the site.
He said: 'It's good we have much-needed 18 social flats, and the Berlin Wall will soon be demolished, but I would argue that Fareham Borough Council didn’t give it their total priority and took eight years to achieve that.'
The properties will be owned and managed by Fareham Housing, the department within the council responsible for council-owned properties.
Tenants will have to pay social rent, which is the least expensive affordable housing option.
The council owns 1,750 social housing properties, and has 1,000 people on its social waiting list.
Executive member for housing, councillor Fred Birkett, said: 'It's really important that we provide much needed affordable housing in Fareham.
'This development marks the start of an increased focus on Fareham Housing providing further affordable homes.'
The ground-breaking of the new social housing comes alongside a proposal to change the way social housing is allocated.
The proposal includes replacing social housing application forms with a drop-in information and advice service.
Residents can give their opinions on the proposal by visiting the Fareham Borough Council website until Friday, October 25.
Cllr Birkett said: ‘We have a duty to ensure that those with the greatest need are given accommodation in the Fareham Borough.'
The new homes in Highlands Road are expected to be completed next summer.