THE target for new homes in Basildon will double, with reducing the housing waiting list a top priority.

Council bosses are set to increase Sempra Homes’ target of building 584 homes before 2024 to more than 1,000 in a bid to move the firm “up a gear.”

Basildon Council is set to approve the boost at a meeting this week, which will also see Kerry Smith, deputy leader, appointed as a director at Sempra, the council’s development arm.

After a review into Sempra was conducted on the council’s watch, bosses want to “accelerate the delivery of new homes in Basildon”.

Mr Smith told the Echo the council is under increasing pressure to keep the authority solvent.

He said: “We’re going to build plenty and plenty of council homes.

“The more people we get off the housing waiting list will reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

There’s too many people stuck on the list who can’t get off it.

“We’re upgrading Sempra to move it up a gear.

“Some of the homes will be council housing as well as part rent part buy.”

The report, set to be discussed on Wednesday by councillors says the council wants to “increase the speed of delivery from the pipeline to handover” and “increase returns.”

The deputy leader said his imminent appointment to Sempra’s board will “give residents a voice” with “his door always open” to anyone who has concerns about potential developments.

It has been revealed the council is now looking into buying land outside of the borough for homes, which “could be as far as Newcastle.”

The council has recently bought land for six homes in Stock.

It has been reported officers are investigating a site on the outskirts of the town centre which could see 220 homes built.