AN appeal has gone out to ‘benevolent land owners’ in Marlborough from the man charged with increasing affordable homes.

Cllr Mervyn Hall of the town council has issued the plea to find land not only for new homes but for sports fields, a cemetery and medical facilities.

He said: “When we undertook the local plan one of the biggest issues was affordable housing. So we commissioned a consultancy to do a housing needs analysis which got a good response within the town. It showed there was a need for another 175 affordable homes using the Government definition of affordable housing. It is a mixture of shared equity and affordable rental homes of which some of those rental homes will be social housing.

“Current planned developments will give us 80 affordable homes because in Marlborough in a development 40 percent must be affordable housing which leaves us with another 95 affordable homes to find.”

Right to buy and homes owned by housing associations are being sold off meaning the housing stock is falling. He said Marlborough suffers from being one of the most expensive towns in the county for housing with the average house price 15 times the average salary. It means first time buyers and young people find it impossible to get on the housing ladder. Salaries for many in the town are low which further exacerbates the problem said Cllr Hall.

“We might find benevolent land owners who will let us build 100 percent affordable homes,” he said, “or one that will let us build 40 percent affordable homes.”

The population is increasing so the need for land is critical. He hopes land owners Crown Estates and Marlborough College will help find land. Two brown field sites are earmarked for retirement homes while the town is constrained by its geography making expansion problematical he explained.