Local authorities have been accused of complacency over a north-east housing crisis as new figures reveal that the region is facing a shortfall of about 17,000 new homes.
Analysis of figures released by Aberdeenshire Council has shown that less than half the new homes that are required to meet local demand have come on stream since 2012.
The authority’s recently published housing land audit said it expects just 14,572 homes to be built in the Aberdeen City and Shire housing market area by the end of 2016. This compares to a housing needs assessment which found that the area would require 27,300 homes to be built in the same period.
Both Aberdeen and Shire local authorities have admitted that they are on course just over 3,000 homes to be built in the region over the next four years, worsening the shortfall.
Property developer Ken Ross said: “We do have a housing crisis.
“These figures highlight the fact that the planners are complacent about it. They say they have a seven year land supply for 27,000 houses. But what is actually being built?”
Mr Ross added that the authorities would struggle to meet even their expected target of 14,572 as projections for houses being built this year and next are almost 50% higher than the number of houses that were built in 2014.
Mr Ross said: “Even if I take everything that they are saying is going to happen, sorry I just don’t see it.”
He said the local authority has been relying on developers to build out large sections of land – many of which have failed meet their estimated number of homes.
He argued this is why Aberdeenshire needed to release further land into the planning system for housing development.
“When we talked to them about delivering rental accommodation, they said they don’t need to release any more land as we will be building enough houses.
“I’m sorry guys, you are not doing it. It really is a problem,” said Mr Ross.
Douglas Edwardson, Head of Housing at Aberdeenshire Council, acknowledged the problem and admitted the council will only see a further 1,178 homes built by 2019.
He said: “As everyone is aware there is a housing shortage in Aberdeenshire and the council cannot address this on our own. Therefore we are working with planners, partner organisations, private developers and communities to provide more housing across Aberdeenshire.”
Councillor Neil Cooney, Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Communities, Housing and Infrastructure, said the city had a plan to deliver 2,000 in the next two years by removing planning barriers.
“The City Council is also aiming to remove some of the remaining barriers to bringing forward land for development.
“While we cannot enter the private market directly, there are things that we can do to enable the private sector to deliver.
“The cost of housing within the wider city area is currently a barrier to mobility for those seeking employment, and we need to address that if the city is going to continue to prosper.”
Revelation of the housing shortfall comes as Mr Ross plans to spearhead the resubmission of a proposal to build 300 homes for rent on farm land near Banchory – 100 units fewer than originally planned.
Mr Ross has been working with developer Sandlaw Farming to build the controversial development, which was rejected by planners at Aberdeenshire council in June after it received more than 500 objections from local residents.