COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of taking their ‘eye off the ball’ over the delivery of affordable housing.

The Liberal Democrats put forward a motion on the issue during the full council meeting at the Town Hall earlier this month.

It highlighted the borough’s ‘poor’ delivery of affordable homes, according to statistics from the Local Government Association’s LG Inform service.

They showed Warrington was the tenth worst performing English unitary authority for the delivery of affordable homes in 2017-2018.

By contrast, Cheshire East was recorded as being the fourth best and Cheshire West and Chester the fifth best in that year.

But the motion was rejected in the chamber after Labour councillors voted against it.

If backed, it would have resulted in a ‘task and finish’ group being established to produce an affordable housing strategy which could be implemented and monitored.

The figures stated Warrington has delivered 810 affordable homes between 2012 and 2018, with Cheshire East delivering 2,363 and Cheshire West and Chester 2,733.

But the council said 850 have been delivered in Warrington over that period, including 86 over 2017-18.

Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, proposed the motion.

He told members that statistics suggest senior figures at the Labour-run council have taken their ‘eye off the ball’ over the provision of affordable housing.

“This should be an issue on which the council can work on as a whole across party lines,” he said.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Bob Barr

“By supporting this motion, members will be making a commitment, I hope, to cross-party working to explore the most appropriate affordable housing solution for Warrington.

“We are not supplying those homes, let’s work together to do it.”

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden defended the authority’s strategy and said ‘more helpful definitions’ over affordable housing are needed.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing, added: “Sadly, this motion is framed in such a partisan and misleading way that the Labour group is not able support it, even though everyone on this side of the chamber is committed to the delivery of affordable housing.

“This Labour group is absolutely committed to the delivery of affordable housing but we are not working in vacuum.

“We are reliant on developers to bring forward schemes.

“However, we are also proactive. We have taken the important step of setting up our own housing companies and now have two sites, which will deliver affordable housing now at the design stage.”

Following the vote on the motion, a councillor in the Liberal Democrat group could be heard saying: “If only the people of Warrington could see this now.”