An additional £5m was spent finishing housing projects across the district.

Documents seen by The Guardian highlight a litany of drawn-out developments across Epping Forest that failed to hit their financial and time targets.

The projects began in 2013 when Epping Forest District Council announced it was building council houses in the area for the first time in 30 years.

As housing portfolio holder Councillor Dave Stallan explained at the time, because the council had “no recent experience of building new homes” it contracted East Thames Housing Association to carry out the works.

Six years later and a raft of a delays carried out during the Association’s tenure have come to light.

These include a two year delay at projects in Roundhills and Harveyfields, which ran £3.5m over budget.

A development at Burton Road in Loughton took a year longer than expected and cost £1m more.

Smaller delays and overspends were also seen at Blueman’s End, Steward’s Green Road, London Road, Parklands,Springfield and Centre Avenue, Centre Drive and Queen’s Road.

In total £5.1m was spent more than originally budgeted.

A spokesperson for the council said: “All of the projects mentioned were let during the period that East Thames HA was acting as development agents for the Council.

“EFDC is committed to delivering significant numbers of new council houses for people in need in the district and is taking forward further phases of its housebuilding programme over the next four years.

“Lessons have been learnt by the Council, through the development of the earlier phases, and we now have a framework of consultants and contractors to directly deliver future phases of the housebuilding programme alongside the Council.

“We intend to take greater control of decisions made in relation to the design development of new homes and ensure that there is more cost and programme certainty going forward.”

It is not currently clear what caused the delays and overspends, but an April Cabinet meeting at the council is expected to illuminate the matter.

In March 2018 the council ended its four year contract with East Thames.