PLANS are taking shape for the first council houses to be built in Brentwood for almost 50 years.

The new administration in charge of Brentwood Borough Council - the “rainbow accord” made up of the Lib Dems, Brentwood First, Labour and independent Roger Keeble – have made the proposals their number one priority.

The group are keen to fast track the plan and hope to have shovels in the ground this year on land just north of Hallsford Bridge Industrial Estate, Ongar.

Incoming leader, Lib Dem councillor Barry Aspinall said: “We are going to be the first administration in Brentwood to build council housing for nearly 50 years.

“Social housing has been built by housing associations after we’ve provided the land, but these will be the first that are council owned.

“The fact is we have a dwindling housing stock.

“When I first joined the council 32 years ago we had nearly 7,000 houses. It’s now at about 2,000 and we have a waiting list of 4,000. These are big numbers.

“We are all totally committed to social housing needs and there will be housing association built, but we need to provide new council stock. What I want is affordable housing for rent owned by the council.”

The administration want to fast track the project as the money is available to fund the project will soon disappear.

The funds need to be spent on new council housing stock as it came from the sale of previous council property.

Mr Aspinall said the Tory administration sat on the funds for too long, losing “millions”.

Councillor Russell Quirk, co-founder of Brentwood First, said: “We’re going to ask the housing committee to allocate Hallsford Bridge for this project where there is a huge lack of in Brentwood.

“The previous council did nothing on this so we want to address that balance.”

Brentwood MP Eric Pickles said he was happy to hear of the project, but added: “We should remember that under this government more council house building has taken place than in the previous 13 years of Labour.”