PLANS FOR 250 new council homes in Powys over the next five years are just the start for the area’s social housing sector, according to a Newtown architect.

Powys County Council has announced it will build the homes as part of a five-year programme.

Doug Hughes, principal architect and managing director at Hughes Architects, said: “The investment by Powys County Council demonstrates the importance of social housing to the authority and the need for such housing in the county.

“In recent years there have been a number of smaller developments throughout the county by Mid Wales Housing and Wales and West Housing.

“When combined they are providing much needed homes in some of our more rural communities here in Mid Wales, as well as larger towns, such as Newtown and Llandrindod Wells.”

“There remains considerable demand for social housing in the region, as there does throughout Wales and more investment is still needed.”

Mr Hughes added: “We have been working with private developers and housing associations to address this and have worked on several schemes in north Powys to help bring such stock forward.

“These include the former Magistrates court development in Back Lane, Newtown, and at the former Social Club site in Welshpool where plans are currently being considered.

“We’re also pleased that a development of 24 apartments that we designed for the former bowling club site in Newtown will also form part of Powys County Council’s investment in social housing.

“Work on this development will begin in the spring of next year.”

Mr Hughes said the private sector remained important to the provision of social housing by bringing forward land for such development and working closely with the county council and housing associations.

Mr Hughes added: “We’d like to see more collaboration to bring forward brownfield sites in the area for social housing.

“This can be achieved by working together – the private and public sector working towards the same goal.”