COLCHESTER is suffering from a shortage of bricks because so many new homes are being built.

Since 2011, 1,400 new homes have been built in the town and 750 more are due for completion before the end of March.

Building suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand, leading to longer delivery times which could affect how quickly developments are completed.

Developers also say they are being charged inflated prices by national suppliers.

Stuart Cock, managing director of Mersea Homes, said: “It is true to say bricks and blocks are on much longer delivery lead-in times, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with the increased demand.

“The knock-on effect is also having price inflation in these building materials.”

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Mersea Homes is working on developments in Brook Square, Colchester; Thatchers Way, Tiptree; Horkesley Grove, Great Horkesley and Wellhouse Green, West Mersea.

It also has plans for Braiswick Lane, Colchester; Rowhedge Quay, Rowhedge; Stanway South and 1,600 homes in Colchester North.

Shaun Balaam, a brick specialist at building supplies firmKent Blaxill, said: “The national house builders have had such a take-up of sales since the middle of last year, they are stockpiling the bricks rather than ordering week to week or month to month.

“It robs the local merchants and local builders of bricks.

“We’re now seeing delays of anything between eight weeks and 50 weeks, which means people are now ordering bricks for next year.”

Paul Smith, borough councillor responsible for business, added: "The fact developers want to build more houses or more buildings and will create more jobs has got to be a positive."

Government helps new buyers

MORE than 100 homes in Colchester have been bought using the Government’s Help to Buy

The shared equity scheme was launched last April and in the first nine months, 128 homes were
bought and a further 51 sales are due to be completed.

The project allows first-time buyers to save a five per cent deposit and borrow up to 20 per cent from the Government to buy a newly-built property worth up to £600,000.

They will need a mortgage for the remaining 75 per cent or more.

Loan fees are not paid for the first five years and after that are paid at a rate of 1.75 per cent in
the sixth year and increasing every year.

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show 12,875 new homes were sold nationwide using the scheme until December last year