A record number of affordable homes have been built in North Devon during the past year.

North Devon Council has reported that between 2019 and 2020 a total of 233 affordable homes were made ready for occupation – a 40 per cent increase on the previous year.

The properties might be affordable housing required via the planning system from developer-led schemes, joint ventures with housing associations and developers, or open market housing converted to affordable by housing associations using funding from Homes England.

The council said these homes often hold a local connection requirement which means local people who might otherwise be priced out of their communities are given first refusal to rent or buy if they meet the criteria.

Councillor Nicola Topham, lead member for housing, said it was great news: “Most of these properties are built by developers who are required to provide the amount of affordable housing required by our Local Plan.

“This has meant that many residents who have struggled to rent privately or get onto the property ladder in their home communities now have an affordable way to do so.”

The council said the importance of adequate housing had been particularly highlighted during the past four months of Covid lockdown.

It said it was proud to be supporting the upcoming Homes at the Heart campaign, a national campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.

Information on how to apply for an affordable housing is available at www.northdevon.gov.uk/housing/apply-for-affordable-housing-for-sale .