BOURNEMOUTH council plans to build 200 affordable homes over the next four years.

The borough has faced criticism for the perceived lack of new social housing in the past few years.

In November local Liberal Democrats criticised the council after figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showed only 12 new social housing units were built in Bournemouth in 2016/17, despite thousands of people being on the waiting list.

Then Phil Dunn, the party's Parliamentary spokesman for Bournemouth West, said the figures "reveal the shocking truth about the housing crisis facing our town, and paint a disgraceful picture of the Conservative council’s indifference".

Boscombe East Tory councillor Andy Jones called for an update on the situation at a recent community scrutiny panel meeting.

He said: "In addition to the excellent schemes such as Duck Lane and most recently Cherries Court, can the cabinet member advise what plans are in place to increase this type of accommodation still further in the future in order to meet ever increasing demand?"

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Robert Lawton said: "The housing development team has put together a programme of 300 homes over the next four years.

"Of these, 200 are affordable homes to be delivered in the Housing Revenue Account for affordable rent and some for shared ownership."

He said the council had "delivered 27 affordable homes" in 2017/18, including the Cherries Court scheme in Boscombe, and construction in Paddington Grove and Cheshire Drive.

"We have three new homes at Cunningham Crescent which have now started on site (being built in-house) and planning approval for a further 14 homes at Moorside Road.

"We are targeting planning submission of 40 homes for affordable rent this financial year."

He said the homes would be a mix of family housing and flats based on the assessed housing need, and surplus council land and property was being reviewed with a view for potential housing development.

The council also received criticism in December when it was revealed the Bournemouth Development Company, which it co-owns with Morgan Sindall Investments, had built no affordable units in its completed schemes, with none earmarked in pending developments either.

The borough said the viability of affordable housing in its schemes was determined independently by the Government's Valuation Agency, and payments were made in lieu to fund construction such projects elsewhere.