Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 10:38 UK

Devon council plans affordable homes on greenfield land

House building
Properties in parts of Devon cost more than 14 times the average wage

A Devon council is planning to build affordable housing on greenfield land because a lack of brownfield sites are available, it has said.

East Devon Council said it was making a plea to landowners with sites suitable to build up to 15 houses, with 10 of them being affordable.

Not all greenfield sites would be accepted, the council said.

Any donated land would need to be near an existing settlement with a built-up boundary or a primary school.

Under the scheme, the council said five would be sold on the open market and the remainder reserved for affordable homes.

The plan was aimed at making it easier for people to stay in areas where they were priced out of the market.

Councillor Jill Elson said councils were starting to realise that they had be creative if they were to tackle shortages of affordable housing.

She said: "We need our rural villages to be viable in order to preserve the school, the shop and the pub.

"If we are to achieve this, we must make it possible for people - especially young locals, to stay in our villages."

A survey published by the National Housing Federation in October reported that, on average, properties in Devon cost more than 14 times the amount of earnings.

The average house costs £238,384, while wages in the county are on average £16,806.

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