A LACK of large developments providing new homes was the reason behind the latest shortage of affordable housing according to Christchurch council.

Councillors discussed the latest update on the joint council’s 4-year corporate plan at full council, which showed the borough was down 4 per cent on the 19 per cent baseline for affordable housing delivery.

The update 18 months into the plan suggests the council remains someway off its housing target.

In 2016-17, just 37 affordable dwellings were completed – just 15 per cent of the annual target.

The plan aims for affordable housing to make up 35 per cent of the overall housing delivered across Christchurch and East Dorset, which equates to 250 homes.

The report claims affordable housing delivery rests heavily with larger core strategy allocations and that small developments of 10 units or less make no affordable housing contribution.

It also says the partnership is down on targets concerning the number of available temporary accommodation units.

Cllr Ray Nottage said the corporate plan was an important document and he was concerned by some areas in the latest report.

“We have a situation currently where we are all aware of the increase of homelessness in the borough and the officers’ action to actually deal with that, but we still have a growing problem which we must understand, as members, what is happening about it,” Cllr Nottage said.

“We are in a position where there will be a green paper and I suspect at the budget, which will be made very shortly, some details will be given about how councils such as ours can be encouraged to build more affordable housing and all that that means, and therefore again a subject which I think will require considerable attention from those responsible.”

Cllr Susan Spittle, who previously held the portfolio for housing, asked for details on why the targets were down in the access to housing section of the report.

In response, Cllr Peter Hall said: “We are all well aware of the pressures councils across the country face in meeting housing targets.

“Locally while we continue to see house building take place, it is large scale sites that will make the biggest difference to allow us to meet the overall need for homes.

“It is anticipated sites will progress significantly over the next few years.

“In the meantime, the delivery of affordable housing affectively delivered as part of the large scale developments remains a challenge that we must continue to focus on.”

Cllr Sally Derham Wilkes said the move to have Cllr Claire Bath undertaking some responsibilities in the access to housing area would hopefully result in improvements.