Wiltshire has seen a marked decrease in the delivery of affordable housing this financial year.

A report presented to the Environment Select Committee has shown that only 235 affordable homes had been delivered by the end of June.

That represents 36% of the annual target of 650 homes per year.

In 2022/23, Wiltshire achieved seven dwellings below the target, providing a total of 643 affordable homes.

Affordable housing is defined as privately owned housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market.

Affordable rented housing is at least 20% below local market rents, whereas social housing that is owned by the council typically sits at around 50% of local market rents.

In June 2023 the Environment Select Committee endorsed a task group to review how well the current housing allocations policy is working.

The group presented a report to the committee in a meeting on Tuesday, November 7th.

It showed that, as of August 2023, there were 4294 applicants on Wiltshire’s housing register.

However, the number of properties in Wiltshire let to these people in 2022 was 1332.

Most people on the housing register are concentrated in the main urban areas such as Amesbury (234), Chippenham (467), Devizes (248), Melksham (237), Salisbury (732), and Trowbridge (533).

The task group made several recommendations, such as supporting multi-tenancies for unrelated adults when appropriate, but also acknowledged the difficulties posed by the increase in demand.

It stated: “The current housing allocations process is complex, difficult to navigate and is raising false expectations.

"There are a large number of people on the register, many of whom have no prospect of bidding successfully.

"There is not enough stock for everyone who needs housing and housing needs have increased.”

According to the task group’s report, many people remain on the housing register for months or even years.

More vulnerable applicants are prioritised, such as those fleeing domestic abuse or dealing with homelessness.

The report concluded: “There is clearly a lack of supply across the housing market, which affects the number of properties available as social housing.

“With rental prices increasing and fewer properties available demand for social housing rises.

“It is actually not certain how many social properties there are to rent in Wiltshire, but planning and delivering an increased number of social houses would ease the pressure upon the housing register.”