A FULL review of Monmouthshire’s housing strategy has been ordered by councillors after the authority failed to hit their homebuilding targets.

The council’s existing local development plan (LDP) will be scrapped three years earlier than anticipated having been drawn up in 2011.

When it was taken up in 2014 the aim was for 488 homes to be built each year, but instead only 667 homes have been built in the county.

Planners had also hoped to build 96 affordable homes a year – only 127 have been built in four years.

And the underachievement was described as a “miserable” failure by the Conservative administration by Labour group leader, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni.

“There is a housing crisis in Monmouthshire and this council has failed in every conceivable way to deliver the adequate housing for people on modest incomes and people that are struggling,” he said.

Fellow Labour Cllr Armand Watts lamented the inability for homes to be built on seven strategic housing sites in the county.

Each of the sites, which were supposed to be completed by 2021, will now be reassessed as part of a new LDP which will run to 2033.

But deputy leader Cllr Bob Greenland (Cons) said there had been a “number of issues”, including that developers had prevented certain sites progressing.

“The strategic sites have not come forward in the way that we anticipated,” said Cllr Greenland.

“To blame this on the inadequacy of the projections in the previous plan is utter nonsense.”

Cllr Giles Howard (Cons) disputed claims that the existing LDP had failed, having met “tests of soundness” upon adoption.

He added: “Times change and just about every other local planning authority in Wales is suffering from the same issues with the LDP.

“I did wonder if Dimitri and Armand were talking out of their hats but since they’re not wearing any, perhaps they’re just talking from somewhere else.”

A council report said that added pressures include the abolition of the Severn Crossing tolls, a fast-growing elderly population, and a shrinking younger population.

Councillors also heard that the average house price in Monmouthshire is £307,000 – 65 per cent higher than the Welsh average of £186,000.

Mark Hand, head of planning, conceded that there had been an “overreliance” on the strategic sites but said that all of them were progressing.

He added: “With the other economical things going on, that has limited those sites coming forward. It’s not an uncommon problem for sites not to come forward in Monmouthshire but people are keen to build here.

He said: “It’s not an uncommon problem for sites not to come forward In Monmouthshire but people are keen to build here.”