THE leader of the Labour opposition in Monmouthshire has called on the local authority to start building council houses again to meet growing demand.

Councillor Dimitri Batrouni says the move would make Monmouthshire one of the first councils in South Wales to return to building owning council homes.

Monmouthshire County Council had transferred its council housing stock to Monmouthshire Housing Association in 2008.

But in a motion which will be delivered to full council tomorrow, Cllr Batrouni will urge the authority to retake the reins and create a local housing company (LHC).

LHCs are independent ‘arms-length’ organisations wholly or partly owned by councils that can develop, purchase or manage properties within a local authority area.

Such companies have grown in popularity amongst some local authorities in England.

“Housing is critical to the well-being of every resident in the county. However, it is clear the private sector is not delivering what Monmouthshire needs,” said Cllr Batrouni.

“Put simply, it is not building enough affordable homes for younger residents or properties desirable for older people.

“This means a lot of local people, across the age range, are either being priced out of the area or forced to move out of county away from their loved ones.”

The council has gone back to the drawing board with housing after opting to scrap its local development plan (LDP) three years earlier than planned.

When it was taken up in 2014 the aim was for 488 homes to be built each year, but instead only 667 homes have been built in the county.

Planners had also hoped to build 96 affordable homes a year – only 127 have been built in four years.

“The aim of this proposal is to rectify this situation,” said Cllr Batrouni.

“It will allow the council to once again have some control and deliver the homes and infrastructure our residents demand and need.”

“As local councillors, we hear and know the demand for more homes and better infrastructure. I hope all the other parties back this proposal.”

The motion will be debated tomorrow (Thursday, June 21) at County Hall.