A YORK council officer has disputed a report claiming that the city's housing stock has increased by a mere 100 - the second lowest increase in the country.

A Centre for Cities report said the total amount of housing in York rose by just 0.1 per cent in 2012/13, from 86,800 to 86,900.

That put it in 63rd place in a league table of 64 cities, behind only Dundee, which had a reduction of 200.

Developer John Reeves, of the Helmsley Group, said many factors were behind York's low increase, including a 'very slow' planning process -'possibly rightly ,as it’s a special city with protection needed' - but also City of York Council's former 50 per cent affordable housing requirement, which he claimed had killed housebuilding in York before it was relaxed but too late.

He claimed the authority should provide social rented housing from money received from developers, as forcing it into private schemes just stifled developers and contributed to the lack of new stock, adding: "Commercial common sense needs to be brought back into the process."

But Mike Slater, assistant director, development services, planning and regeneration, said he believed the Centre for Cities data was based on Communities and Local Government figures, which would only show starts and completions as reported by the council's own building control inspectors, and not private concerns / approved inspectors.

He said this effectively underestimated the housing stock increase in any year, and the council's own data showed 540 completions and a 482 net increase in stock.

He said these figures included some off-campus, privately managed, student housing in clusters, but even if these were to be taken off the overall net completions, the increase in housing stock would still be far in excess of the 100 referred to by the Centre for Cities. However, Mr Reeves said every city's figures related to the same data, and so York was on a level playing field.

Developments which have gone ahead in York recently include the first phase of a new housing scheme on the former Terry's chocolate factory site - with the second phase recently having received council planning approval - Derwenthorpe, a housing scheme in Beckfield Lane and another in Huntington.

Elsewhere in the report, York stands out from most other Yorkshire cities in seeing an increase in business stock of 16 per cent.

It also had the fourth lowest Job Seekers' Allowance claimant rate, the fifth lowest level of inequality and the ninth highest level of top level qualifications.