COUNCILLORS in Caerphilly feel they have been “misled” by property developers as the authority struggles to reach its affordable housing targets.

Members of the policy and resources committee expressed their anger at certain sites in the county borough remaining undeveloped or being built with reduced affordable housing provision.

The targets for affordable housing on new developments ranges from 40 per cent in the Caerphilly Basin to 25 per cent in the Northern Connections Corridor.

A further 10 per cent is being sought in the rest of the borough as part of the council’s local development plan (LDP), which was adopted in 2010.

But the council is falling short of its housebuilding targets, with only 251 affordable homes built through the planning process out of a targeted 964 before 2021.

Speaking on Tuesday, councillor Lindsay Whittle said: “We are being misled by developers, we have to be a lot harsher with them.”

The Plaid Cymru councillor asked planning officer Tim Stephens if the council could revoke a planning application if developers refused to meet the council’s targets.

But Mr Stephens said: “It’s only a target, and if it’s not viable for the developers then we have to accept a reduced figure.

“Developers know the targets exist but they have their own set fixed costs, including their profit margins.

“If the developer can’t make what they expect to be a profit, and the landowner can’t sell the land at a price that they feel is satisfactory, then no development takes place. We’re caught in the middle of that tension.”

Labour councillor Roy Saralis questioned why developers could be allowed to “cut affordable housing simply to increase their profit margins”.

The committee meeting heard that affordable housing comes at an additional cost to the developer, which has a knock-on effect on the land value.

Committee chair councillor James Pritchard described the current situation as “unacceptable” and said members “weren’t content with the status quo”.

The Labour councillor for Morgan Jones also suggested that the authority expand its plans to build more council houses in the borough.

The committee will meet on May 29 to discuss a programme which could see the council develop 46 new-build homes.

But Cllr Pritchard said: “We could consider a mass council building programme to make sure that the council is going to get people living in affordable housing that they can afford to rent. I think we need far above the 46 potential houses to mitigate against low levels of affordable housing completed through the planning process.”