A SLOWDOWN in the house-building sector has been identified in Barnsley - despite council bosses insisting the blueprint for future development in the town is ‘still achieving its objectives’ following a review earlier into its effectiveness this year.

A total of 7,099 homes were built in the borough between April 2014 and April 2023, but ambitions to treble that figure by 2033 could fall short.

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show building commenced on around 640 homes in Barnsley in 2023 - down from 670 the year before.

Between April and June last year, 300 homes started to be built in Barnsley - the smallest number of starts since 2008 - and just 620 homes were completed in a full calendar year.

As part of its so-called ‘local plan’, the council identified would-be house-building opportunities at key locations such as Goldthorpe - which was earmarked to yield almost 3,000 homes - and Hoyland, which has space for 2,500.

Steve Turner, executive director at the Home Builders Federation, blamed the government’s ‘weakening of the planning system, removal of housing targets and lack of support for buyers’ for holding up construction of new homes.

He said: “Despite the acute housing crisis we face, all indicators show further declines in supply ahead - frustrating the housing aspirations of the younger generation and costing construction workers their jobs.

“Putting short-term politics over the needs of the population will have long-term consequences for the economy and society, and must be addressed.”

However, despite the shortfall, the council expect 6,828 houses will have been completed by 2027/28, with Dodworth set to be the most-impacted location, with almost 1,000 homes being built there.

A report said: “We know some of our residents have concerns regarding planned housing growth in our borough.

“However, Barnsley’s growing and changing population means that we must deliver a significant number of new homes annually to meet need and many of our allocated sites.

“Our emphasis is on making development more economically viable whilst maintaining a high quality.

“We want to increase access to new homes by actively enabling more people to buy on the open market and have allocated a broad range of sites across sustainable locations within our urban centre and principal towns to accommodate this.

“It is essential that future housing development must take place in the right locations, with the right infrastructure and amenities complementing wider regeneration initiatives locally.

“As the planning authority, we also need to ensure our land supply and design policies help us to create sustainable communities and the right balance between quality design and timely, cost-effective housing delivery.

“In order attract and retain residents, we must ensure a compelling and comprehensive housing offer - this is critical to ensuring sufficient labour supply in future years to meet our ambitious plans for growing the economy.

“We therefore need to provide a greater mix of homes, including larger and higher value homes, thereby making the borough a more appealing and more prosperous place.

“Working with our partners we will address the shortfall of detached and semi-detached housing, and bungalows to reflect household aspirations across the borough.

“We will work closely with developers to ensure that the design of new housing helps to make Barnsley a more attractive place to live.”