A LEADING politician has called into question the performance of Weaver Vale Housing Trust in the House of Commons.

Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach has hit out at the lack of delivery of affordable housing across her constituency after the trust built just 16 homes in 2016/2017.

On its website, the trust declares it had built just six homes at a cost of £800,000 in 2015/2016, after which it stated its aim was:“Building more new homes – our strategy is focussed at increasing the number that are developed by the trust with a balance between homes for rent and affordable home ownership options.”

In an impassioned plea last week to the Minister of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, Ms Sandbach said: “Last year the housing association set aside £9.6 million from the rent it receives for pension provision, some of which final salary pensions for its highest paid staff and executives, but only delivered 16 new affordable units.”

She asked Mr Javid if he would look into the lack of delivery of affordable housing by Weaver Vale Housing Trust and assess the governance of the housing association.

Mr Javid responded: “Now that she has raised it, I will take a closer look.”

Ms Sandbach said she had also had a meeting with the chief executive of the trust Wayne Gales and hoped he would deal with the issues as a matter of urgency

She explained: “I raised the issues on the floor of the House of Commons because I know that there are long waiting lists for my constituents, not only in Winsford, but also in the rural parts of my constituency where there has been a clear lack of delivery of affordable housing.

“I support the efforts of the housing association to deliver but think they need to be a great deal more ambitious and they need to look at their priorities going forward.”

Mr Gales told the Guardian:“Over the past year, Weaver Vale has invested more than £9m to improve our 6,100 homes, and currently has plans to spend approximately £20m to build a minimum of 200 new affordable homes across Cheshire by 2020.

“We share Antoinette Sandbach’s concerns about the need to deliver more affordable housing to support the growing number of families looking for a home to call their own. That is why we are working with developers, landowners, local authority partners, our local MPs and other housing associations to explore how we can increase the number of homes we each deliver in order to help address the shortage of affordable homes across Cheshire.

“Our pension schemes, which are common to many local authorities and housing associations are open to all of our employees at the trust.

“Last year, Weaver Vale received the highest possible ratings from the government regulator, however we constantly review the way we work to make sure that we continue to deliver value for money for our customers.”