NEW affordable one and two bedroom properties are to be built in Neath.
NPT Homes are to build 11 two bedroom houses and four one bedroom flats in a bid to provide housing for those tenants affected by the recent benefit changes.
The social landlord has been granted £1 million from the Welsh Government Social Housing Grant.
This will contribute to the £1.7 million project which NPT Homes hopes to complete by spring 2015.
The development will be built on the site of Old Furnace House, currently a vacant sheltered scheme in Melin.
The disused building, which has been used by Wales and West Fire and Rescue Service for search and rescue training and South Wales Police for dog handling training whilst planning permission was being administered, is due to be demolished imminently to make way for the new homes.
In April the Government introduced the ‘bedroom tax’ and many social housing tenants, who claim housing benefit, have faced cuts in their regular payments if it is considered they have too many bedrooms for their needs.
The alternative is to down size to smaller properties; however, across Wales, there is a shortage of one and two bedroom properties.
Neath-based South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins has been supporting tenants and last year held a public meeting at Neath’s Castle Hotel to discuss the issue.
NPT Homes’ director of assets, Steve Tucker, said: “As a landlord, NPT Homes is aware that there is a high demand for one and two bedroom properties in the Neath Port Talbot Borough.
“Many of our tenants have been affected by the bedroom tax so we are really pleased that we have been successful in our application to the Welsh Government for the Social Housing Grant under their Smaller Properties Programme.
“The grant will help NPT Homes build the much anticipated 15, one and two bedroom properties, to provide affordable housing for those tenants who are most affected by the recent benefit changes.”
Council leader Ali Thomas said: “The authority, in its strategic housing role, is pleased to work in partnership with NPT Homes in the delivery of new homes to help meet the increasing demand for smaller properties.
“The building of new homes is great for the local economy too, potentially providing employment for local people.”