WINCHESTER City Council is aiming to increase the number of council homes it will build from 600 to 1,000 over the next decade.

The expansion has been made possible by the Government scrapping the housing debt cap, which means the council can now borrow against the value of its housing stock to expand its affordable house building.

Its programme for a relatively-small authority is one of the most ambitious in the country.

It will make a big dent in the council waiting list which currently stands at around 1,350.

The 1,000 target will be met by 2028 and already homes across the district are being planned and built to help more people off the housing waiting list.

The Conservative-run council has already completed many schemes including Chesil Lodge and Hillier Way in Abbotts Barton and is about to start on a new development at The Valley in Stanmore.

Council leader Caroline Horrill, also the portfolio holder for housing, said: “Housing affordability in Winchester district is rightly a major concern and this administration is committed to doing everything it can to build affordable homes in the places local people want them.

“We want to see a smaller housing waiting list and this pledge will do much to help us achieve this aim because it’s important we have affordable homes across the district for people who cannot afford local house prices.

“It’s absolutely right the council steps in to help and it’s the responsible thing to do with the assets the city council has. It is also a long-term policy that will make a huge difference in Winchester district for generations to come.”

The biggest single addition to social housing in recent years is the building of 800 units at the Barton Farm development where 40 per cent of the 2,000 homes will be for people on the council waiting list.

Last week the city council officially opened a scheme in Phillimore Gardens, Shedfield, a scheme for 13 houses undertaken in collaboration with the Hampshire Alliance for Affordable Housing (HARAH).