A YOUNG couple have become the first people to get onto the property ladder through a new Winchester City Council shared ownership scheme.

First-time buyers Naomi Beamish and Olly Biggs, both in their early 30s, were the first to complete a purchase using the scheme when they bought the property in The Dean, Alresford.

Living in a one-bedroom flat in Chesil Street, they had previously been unable to find a larger, affordable family home close enough to the city centre where they work.

The pair, who have recently celebrated the birth of their daughter Poppy, run Forte Kitchen, in Parchment Street.

The council’s Partnered Home Purchase Scheme, called Myhome, offers residents the chance to choose a home on the open market worth up to £450,000, which is then purchased by the council.

Residents purchase a 50-70 per cent share of the lease and pay rent on the remaining share.

Naomi said: “I cannot believe how much freedom this scheme provides, especially when compared to help to buy schemes, which are really strict on what you can and can’t do.

“There is no way we could have afforded this home otherwise, it really has worked out perfectly for us.”

The scheme is currently in its pilot phase, and is estimated to cost £4.5 million over two years which will see ten households helped onto the property ladder in Winchester.

The city is one of the most expensive places to buy property in the UK.

City council leader and portfolio holder for housing Cllr Caroline Horrill said: “We know only too well that affording a house in and around Winchester is extremely difficult, especially for young buyers like Naomi and Olly, and this is exactly why we have launched this scheme to ensure that there are more ways for our residents to continue to live and work in the district.”

Places on the scheme are limited, so a points-based system is being used to see who will be accepted.

There are a number of eligibility criteria which determine if a purchase can be made with the scheme.

In addition to the value limit of £450,000, the property chosen must be a house and must be within the Winchester district boundary.

The property must not be a listed building and must be in reasonable conditioning. Properties up for auction are also excluded.

Winchester City Council’s portfolio holder for finance Cllr Guy Ashton added: “If it is as successful as we are sure it will be we’ll invest further to support those who want to live or work in our district.”