TOWN planners are demanding action to help first time buyers priced out of Crewe's booming property market.
While existing homeowners cash in on soaring house prices, thousands of young families are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.
Now council chiefs are calling for a change in policy to help the less well off invest in bricks and mortar.
Crewe was named as a property 'hot-spot' in 2004, when prices rose 10 times faster than the average wage.
But the situation has forced many Crewe-born residents out of the area as they struggle to meet the prices.
Cllr Steve Hogben, portfolio holder for the local economy, said: 'At the moment, with projects such as the Dunwoody Way development, we have no power to insist some properties are kept affordable.
'A rough definition of 'affordable' is taken to be around three or four times the average salary, so in Cheshire that means between £70,000 and £90,000.
'We expect the latest housing needs survey to show a sharp fall in the number of houses within that bracket in Crewe, so we are proposing a policy change which will assign up to 30% of all new homes to shared ownership and rental schemes.'
Shared ownership, where tenants own a stake in their home, is seen as vital to help thousands on to the property ladder.
But councillors want to limit the stake tenants can hold, claiming too many properties are lost when residents buy outright.
Avril Allman, a borough housing officer, said: 'Once a home is bought by the owner-occupier, it disappears from the open market and our affordable stock is diminished.
'This is a problem in desirable areas where house prices rocket quickly, which is why we would like to restrict tenants to an 80% share in Crewe and Nantwich.'
The council is hoping to deliver hundreds of affordable homes in Crewe and Nantwich after research showed 60% of would-be homeowners could not afford to put down roots in their hometowns.