The number of new houses being built in Northampton has fallen to the lowest level recorded in the past 45 years, official figures have shown.
Documents published by Northampton Borough Council showed the number of new homes built in the area was at the lowest rate since Northampton was declared a ‘new town’ in 1968.
Officials at the Guildhall have blamed the decline on both the recession and the building trade’s lack of interest in starting new developments in tough economic times.
Their report said: “The recession has resulted in the pace of development across the borough slowing significantly.
“The number of houses built has improved on last year’s total, but is still one of the worst within Northampton since its designation as a new town.”
The council report showed there were only 423 new houses built in Northampton last year, against an overall target of 1,775.
In the previous year, only 323 new homes were built.
Council officials had predicted in 2011 that the housing market would pick up in 2012, but they have now admitted their optimism was wrong.
The council report said: “Assumptions about the ability of the market to pick up from what appeared to be an all-time low were misplaced.
“The housing market has not significantly improved on last year.”
They have also admitted that optimism that the housing sector may pick up this year may also be misplaced.
That view has been backed by housing developer, Colin Clayson, who runs the Clayson Group of Companies, which builds in and around Northampton.
He blamed both the recession and excessive legislation from local and national government as well as Europe for the slowdown in the housing market.
Painting a bleak picture for new housing in Northampton, he said: “There’s very little building going on around here because there’s no profit in it, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s so costly to get planning permission and then, when you come to build, there are too many expensive regulations.
“A lot of firms are waiting until the economy picks up, but I don’t know what’s going to come around to make that happen and I can’t see things picking up in Northampton for a long time.”