WORK has started on the next phase of new homes on land once occupied by the Llandarcy oil refinery.
Housing giant Persimmon has officially begun work on 302 homes which will be built over the course of the next six years at the Coed Darcy Urban Village development, one of the biggest regeneration schemes in Wales.
The Prince of Wales is supporting the scheme through his Prince's Foundation.
The homes will range in size from two-bedroom semi- detached properties to detached four-bedroom houses starting at £100,000 and going up to £250,000.
Persimmon and regeneration specialists St Modwen are expecting the development to create around 880 construction jobs.
The showpiece Urban Village is being built on the old refinery site which employed 2,000 people at the peak of its operations in the 1970s.
It will be developed over the course of the next 20 to 25 years with 60 homes already completed and 50 already bought or occupied.
Andrew Crompton, regional land director for Persimmon, said: "The biggest obstacle to overcome in the housing market is availability of mortgage finance.
"Last month the amount of mortgage lending increased to just over 50,000 new mortgages which was the largest rise in the last three years.
"Building societies are lending a higher loan to value ratio.
"Now you can get mortgages of up to 90 per cent loan to value and that is helping to stimulate some confidence back into the market.
"I think the banks have repaired their balance sheets."
In addition to housing the Coed Darcy Urban Village will eventually include three primary schools and a secondary school and already hosts a business park employing 1,000 people in public, private and charitable organisations.
John Flower, director of environment for Neath Port Talbot Council, said: "When we talk about sustainable communities, this ticks all the boxes straight away.
"From our point of view it shows a level of commitment and confidence in Neath Port Talbot."