DOZENS of new 'affordable' homes are waiting to be built while housing associations face long delays with BCP Council’s legal department.

Several organisations are ready to start construction but are waiting for the council to hand over the ownership of land.

The council said it was committed to enabling affordable housing developments “in the earliest timescales possible”.

But former Sandbourne Housing Association chief executive Steve Hayes said some organisations had been waiting for upwards of a year for legal agreements to be finalised.

“When BCP Council came into being [April 2019] Sandbourne had a scheme which had been approved by Poole council to redevelop land in Oakdale,” he said. “We were ready to go in February but what would have taken a few months before the merger still hasn’t been completed.

The proposed development in Moor View Road, Oakdale would see 32 garages demolished to make way for new social housing.

At the time proposals were first put forward in 2018, Poole council’s head of estates Sarah Varley said the scheme would help towards an “established council priority”.

But despite Sandbourne being ready to begin work since February last year, the transfer of the freehold of the land into its ownership has still not been completed.

“There’s a desperate need for more affordable and social housing and there is a lot which is oven-ready and waiting on the council’s legal department,” Mr Hayes added.

“We saw the amount of discussion around the REIDsteel development in Christchurch and it having no affordable housing but there are several schemes that are ready to go elsewhere.”

He said other housing associations were facing similar waits and that these were driving up the costs of these projects.

A spokesman for BCP Council said: “The time taken to complete any transaction varies depending on its complexity and the legal issues which can arise during its implementation.

“The council is committed to the delivery of its priorities in the earliest timescales possible.”