AFFORDABLE housing in the Winchester district is set to increase over the next few years.

The city council is moving closer to establishing the Winchester Housing Company– a wholly-owned housing company seeking to help people get on the property ladder.

It will deliver units for sub-market rent let on non-secure tenancies, shared ownership accommodation and, where required, the sale of units for open market sale.

But not everyone is convinced the new scheme will succeed.

At a cabinet meeting last week (September 18), former city councillor Ian Tait said: "I would build anything, anywhere, if it meant Winchester had more affordable housing. But I'm struggling to find where the land is.

"The report also states that, in its second year, the company will make a significant profit, but I can't see where that money will come from.

"I really do applaud the concept, but I have some real concerns at the moment."

Civic chiefs hope the company will be incorporated by October 2019, and that it will function as an 'ethical landlord', providing a 'more secure offer than the private rented sector'.

The shared ownership option will allow tenures to buy between a quarter and three-quarters of a property with the option to buy a bigger share in the property at a later date.

Cllr Kelsie Learney said: "The company will help provide housing for young people. Any scheme that can help provide more housing can only be a good thing in the current environment."

Members of cabinet also questioned whether the company would put more pressure on other affordable housing schemes, such as The Valley in Stanmore, which is currently being built.

But Cllr Anne Weir said the schemes would work 'hand in hand'.

She said: "The company won't put additional pressures on the other schemes for affordable housing.

"It will simply be complimentary and supplementary."