A total of 664 affordable homes were built in the county in the last financial year, Dorset Council has revealed.
Working with registered provider housing associations, the new affordable homes, including a range of tenures, such as rented and shared ownership, and including houses for local, key workers, were built by housing associations, or acquired by the council in the year to March 2023.
This is the highest figure since the unitary authority was created in 2019, it says, and represents a rise of 135 additional houses and flats compared with the 529 created in the year to March 2022. In the year to March 2021, just 301 new affordable homes were built.
Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, lead member for housing, said he was pleased with the progress being made in providing new houses across the Dorset Council area, but recognised the huge demand in the light of current challenges.
‘Rents and costs have risen steeply in the past year, which is why it is so vital that we continue to provide the right kind of affordable housing in the right place and at the right time. Affordable housing makes such a difference to so many people’s lives.
‘Our council team and housing associations are doing a brilliant job in getting so many homes built during these difficult times. They are continuing to look for new sites across Dorset to meet increasing demands.
‘The additional homes enable the council to respond to pressures relating to homelessness, as well as providing support for people on the housing register list.’
Most of the 664 affordable homes receive financial support from Homes England and are built by Housing Associations, such as Magna, Abri, Sovereign, Aster, East Boro, Stonewater and Hastoe.
Some of the properties are where the council has used grants and capital resources to acquire and bring empty properties back to use, such as the grade two listed building in West Street, Blandford Forum, which recently won a prestigious national innovation award.
Community groups have also come together to form Community Land Trusts to work with registered providers to provide affordable homes for local residents in villages, such as Drimpton, near Beaminster.