NEW affordable homes and council homes will be built across south Essex to combat high numbers of council housing applications which are being rejected.

The Echo revealed last week, following a Freedom of Information request, how Basildon Council had been inundated with applications from people wanting to live in a council house.

Some 15,110 applications were made between the beginning of 2015 and end of 2017.

However, roughly one in three of the applications were rejected.

Basildon Council admitted that their supply was nowhere near as high as their demand, but added that they are building homes across the borough.

Andrew Gordon, vice chairman of the housing and community committee, said: “We are serious about building council housing and ensuring we provide high quality homes for people in our borough.

“Over the next five years the council’s ambitious New Homes Programme is aiming to develop a further 100 homes with 584 more to be developed by the council’s housebuilding company, Sempra Homes.”

The first council homes in 25 years were built in Basildon in November last year.

Four two-bedroom homes were built in Victoria Road in Laindon, as well as three two-bedroom homes in Rettendon Gardens, Wickford, and four two-bedroom homes in Quendon Road, Basildon.

The three sites will provide a total of 11 much needed homes for families who are on the council’s Homeseeker register.

Although Southend has had less than half the amount of social housing applications (7,468) as Basildon has had during the same time period, they have rejected a similar number with roughly 36 per cent of applications not being passed.

Councillor Mark Flewitt, responsible for housing, said that the council are planning to build more affordable homes to combat the housing crisis.

He said: “It is well known that nationally we are facing a housing crisis as rents continue to rise and the availability of affordable housing continues to fall. One of the council’s key priorities is to build new affordable homes to meet a range of local housing needs and new housing investment company - Southend Housing Ltd - will allow us to do that and offer these at an affordable rent or a mixture of shared ownership and rent.

“We will also look to develop private housing for rent and sale too where appropriate and the income generated from this could be reinvested into more affordable housing and to sustain council services.”

Southend Housing Ltd was set up by Southend Council in June last year.

The company will build and acquire homes, and offer a range of buying and renting options including private sale, private rent and shared ownership as well as affordable rent.

Southend Council has also launched the Better Queensway project - a £300million scheme to transform the Queensway estate in the centre of Southend and build 441 affordable homes.

The council added that many of the applications that had been rejected were from people who were simply not applicable.

A council spokesman said: “Anyone can apply to the council for housing. However, unfortunately not everyone will be accepted onto the Homeseekers Register.”

The criteria to get onto the register includes people who are homeless, those living in unclean conditions and people who need to move on medical or welfare grounds.

Nearby Thurrock Council also proved to have a high number of housing applications, with 8,405 in the last three years, but were unable to provide the amount which had been rejected.

The council recently announced that they planned to build 1,000 homes in the next five years and have promised that at least 35 per cent of these will be affordable.

A council spokesman said: “There is a need for more affordable housing as the population of the borough increases.

“We are tackling this through our work with both public and private developers to remove the obstacles to development, and through our own regeneration vehicle, Thurrock Regeneration Ltd.”