Delays in getting 10 houses owned by the council onto the market have cost the taxpayer more than £25,000.

Swindon Borough Council wants to offer 10 homes in the award-winning Sussex Place redevelopment in Walcot as low-cost housing, under a shared equity scheme.

But while it’s owned the properties for more than a year, it still hasn’t been able to offer the homes for sale.

Labour councillor for Walcot and Park North, Steve Allsopp put a written question to the council’s Conservative cabinet about the houses.

He said: "This saga seems to have been dragging on and on with no end in sight. It's costing the council at least £500 per month in maintenance of the houses, and people are getting really fed up with it - there's a housing shortage and these are sitting empty."

In response, he was told by the cabinet member for housing, Councillor Cathy Martyn that there were planning issues delaying the offer for sale.

She said: “Following initial marketing there is interest in these properties for sale. We have received three firm inquiries.”

The two-bed terraced houses are valued at £175,000, the three-bed houses at £190,000 and three-bed end terraced houses at £195,000.

Coun Martyn added: “The original ambition was to sell the first units in October 2017. However sale units are dependent on planning conditions being met in full. These involved third party tests. One third party in particular has been slow to respond since initial verification of the condition being met was supplied.”

The borough council has since confirmed that it has been waiting to get certification for the houses’ energy efficiency.

A spokesman said: “The Council is still waiting for confirmation from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) that the properties meet Code Level 3 for Sustainable Homes. This requires a formal approval from the BRE to issue a certificate to confirm the site meets Code 3. This is to discharge the final planning condition.”

The spokesman added: "After considerable chasing and clarifications, all evidence was completed and dispatched on 30th May 2018. Council officers have been chasing this up twice a week since then."