FIRST-time house buyers are being encouraged to stay in rural Chester by Vale Royal Borough Council.
More than 50 local residents attended a public meeting about affordable housing, hosted by Manley Parish Council.
They heard the results of a survey conducted by the council earlier this year in the parishes of Manley, Alvanley, Crowton, Kingsley and Norley.
Members of the local community were given the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about the potential need for affordable housing within their parish.
Lead councillor for strategic housing, Ann McEllin, said: “Some of the most pressing, but hidden, housing need is in rural areas where children of local people cannot afford to get a foot on the housing ladder.
“We would look to work in co-operation with local parish councils to identify the particular housing need and then work in partnership with registered social landlords to provide good quality affordable housing for people with a strong local connection to an area.
“Rural communities, their schools and facilities, will decline without having young families in the area. By providing good quality affordable homes we are hoping to sustain thriving rural communities into the twenty first century.”
Richard Ellison, head of planning and building control, and rural housing enabler Phil Addison led the discussions at the meeting at Manley Village Hall, which was chaired by Manley Parish Council chairman Harry Gorse.
Possible affordable housing sites were identified although none were in Manley. The west side of Norley was confirmed as available and with a need for affordable housing.
It was confirmed that no council houses would be built and that all local agreements would be continued in the future by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
If a site is identified in the future then further public consultation meetings will be held.
A total of 75 households, representing at least 134 people, considered themselves to be in housing need.
Thirty-nine of these households considered themselves in need now and 36 of these households anticipate they will be in housing need within the next five years.
Excluding those who registered their own need for affordable housing, the results showed that 65% would be in support of a small scheme for local people.
A spokesperson for Vale Royal Borough Council added: “We are hoping to work with the communities to identify possible sites to build small developments for local people.”