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Shelter blast Thanet Council

A housing charity has slammed Thanet council as one of the worst performing areas in the country for providing affordable homes.

Shelter claims the authority built an average of just 63 affordable homes per annum over the last three years - four per cent of the annual requirement for the area of 1,544.

The results suggest Thanet is one of the worst performing areas in the country, although a spokesman for Thanet council said it actually provided 90 homes in 2008/9 - six per cent of the number required.

The council ranks in the bottom 10 per cent of English authorities for affordable housing delivery, even when using its own figures.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "These figures are extremely worrying. With around 4,700 households on the housing waiting list in Thanet, the council must work far harder to ensure more desperately needed affordable homes are provided if it ever hopes to meet the housing needs of the local population."

Thanet council defended its performance in a statement issued today.

New homesIt insisted that the authority had exceeded its 2008/9 target of delivering 70 affordable homes, adding that Shelter’s figures for the following 12 months would show it had doubled the number of homes provided in one year to 176.

Cllr Zita Wiltshire, cabinet member for community services at Thanet council, said the survey automatically favoured areas with less housing need.

She said: "We’re aware that we’ve not delivered as many affordable homes as we’d like to but this survey isn’t giving the true picture of the work we’re doing.

"In somewhere like Thanet, which has a huge housing need, it’s almost impossible to deliver all the houses required, especially in a single year."

Shelter said it would take more than nine years to clear the number of Thanet households on council and housing association waiting lists, if the rate of lettings continued at its current pace.

The average selling price of a home in Thanet is £150,000. The annual income needed to buy an average home in the area is £34,200 - more than double the local average gross yearly salary of £15,600.

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