No new social housing started in Portsmouth last year - despite 'desperate' need

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NO new social or affordable homes were started in the city last year despite a 'desperate' need - while the rest of the country experienced a surge in building.

Between the 2018 and 2019 financial year Portsmouth bucked the trend for non-private developments, with no new homes started and only 40 completed, while nationally and in the south east housing numbers rose in their thousands.

No new social or affordable homes were started in Portsmouth last year

No new social or affordable homes were started in Portsmouth last year

The figures, from Homes England, showed this was down from the previous year when building work on 119 new social and affordable homes in Portsmouth started.

For Labour councillor and housing campaigner Cal Corkery this was worrying. 'I do remain concerned that the council is continuing to fail to address the local housing crisis with the urgency it requires,' he said.

'Scores sleep rough or in shelters every night in our city and hundreds more are without their own home.'

Portsmouth City Council's housing boss Cllr Darren Sanders confirmed work was in place to resolve this. He said: 'The figures reflect the position we inherited in May last year when the Lib Dems came back into power. And the trouble is getting homes built takes a long time.

'Since then we have been putting in various measures to get more homes for Portsmouth people built in a range of ways. We will soon be getting work on the former Southsea Community Centre underway - something that should have been built years ago.’

Homes England had previously come under fire as no progress on land in the north of the city - at Tipner East - had been made.

But a spokesman for Homes England said: 'We are continuing to work with local partners to make homes happen in Portsmouth, including 150 new homes at Tipner East and an £88m strategic partnership with Vivid housing association to deliver affordable housing across Hampshire over the next five years.'

Tory boss and former council leader Cllr Donna Jones denied the lack of homes was caused by her administration. She said: 'Under the Conservatives we built more than 200 new purpose-built affordable homes in just two years. It's extremely disappointing that the Lib Dems failed to continue our plans.'