HEREFORDSHIRE Council could soon step into the housing market to deal with the county’s ‘urgent need’ for new homes.

Council leaders have agreed to set aside £150,000 to explore different models of delivering affordable housing.

They may consider setting up a company to build new council houses and open market homes.

A large proportion of the county’s population is unable to afford to own or rent a suitable property to call their home.

Housing, regulatory services, and community safety cabinet member Ange Tyler said: “We have identified that Herefordshire residents are facing difficulty with housing challenges.

“There is a lack of housing choice, not just in terms of affordable housing, but across the board for elderly, our young people and cared for residents.

“It is a really good idea that we bring this forward now and look at our housing models.

“Many other local authorities are now actively intervening in the housing market by becoming developers creating local housing companies coming with the aim of acquiring sites and developing and managing both affordable housing and open market homes.

“There is an urgent need to address this issue and the creation of this reserve will quickly provide resources to undertake a detailed analysis of the options available.”

“Including the establishment of wholly owned housing company to enable the delivery and management of homes to better meet the needs of residents.

“This money will be used to provide a business case and for consideraiton and further investment.”