MILLIONS of pounds have been secured by the council to build 140 affordable rental homes.

The £4.6 million grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), a government-funded body, will by 2018 see 25 old people’s homes built in Calcutta Road, Tilbury, 42 in Chadwell St Mary and ten in Ockendon, all two- one-bedroom properties.

These developments do not yet have planning permission and public consultations have not yet taken place, however the council has already secured consent for 53 new homes in Seabrooke Rise, Grays.

The council is hoping many of the Chadwell St Mary homes will be bungalows, allowing families and older people to downsize, which will be particularly important as more people are sanctioned by the so-called ‘bedroom tax,’ as the government attempts to make larger social housing available for those with larger families.

Housing spokesman Councillor Lynn Worrall said: “This is an exciting time in Thurrock but the growth we are driving must produce both quality homes and jobs for local people.

“The HCA has recognised the need for these affordable homes in Thurrock and the quality of our plans for delivering them.

“However this is still the early phase of our housing ambitions and we will continue to work with our partners in the private and voluntary sector to deliver the target of 18,500 new homes in the borough by 2021.”

An earlier round of HCA funding will see 12 homes build in Bracelet Road, Corringham and 25 affordable rented and shared ownership flats for older people in Derry Avenue, South Ockendon, with working beginning in autumn.

However Conservative leader Councillor Rob Gledhill, who is also the party’s housing spokesman, said the success should not distract from the very real problems with the council’s own housing stock.

He said: "I welcome this extra money from government and every new home built will help a family or young couple secure a home or help free up larger properties by allowing residents down size.

“However, I hope that before they are built, the council learns lessons from its existing stock and builds homes that are resistant to mould, are energy efficient and meet the practical needs of modern life.

“Indeed, this is something that the council should be insisting on in all new home building, along with sufficient infrastructure being put in place before new homes are built."