THE first council homes to come to Wickford since 1992 are being built, the Echo can reveal.

The last time a batch of council homes were built in the borough, The Soviet Empire had collapsed for just a year, but the Tory-led Basildon Council has struck a deal with developers.

Bloor Homes is building a 68- house development in Brock Meadow, Wickford.

It will provide 11 new council homes as part of the agreement.

The new homes will be ready by the summer and will go some way to easing crippling waits on the council’s social housing register.

Councillor Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council, went to inspect the homes ahead of their July completion date.

Mr Turner, who is also the authority’s councillor responsible for housing, said: “It is great to see our new council homes almost complete.

“This is a very important part of our housing provision strategy and as such it is right up there at the top of our priorities.

“This development will offer quality accommodation and modern family homes to our residents and the build quality sets the tone for what we are trying to achieve as standard.”

A specially-designed bungalow suitable for a disabled person was built in Basildon Drive, Laindon, last year, but this will be the first set of council homes. Earlier this year, the council revealed there were more than 2,500 people on the housing register entitled to a council home.

However, the council has since created different criteria to reduce the number of people waiting, including demands that people have a seven-year local link to apply to go onto the list.

The council will also unveil the homes before its own housebuilding company – designed to build properties on small patches of local authority-owned land – gets into full swing.

Mr Turner added: “This is a springboard providing a great start to the council’s plans to set up its own housing company.”

The Bloor Homes development is part of a variety of schemes in Wickford, with Golden Jubilee Drive also being developed.

A full planning application for more than 500 homes on the former Runwell Hospital site is also in the pipeline.