LOW cost homes could become available on Runcorn's Castlefields estate as part of a move to increase the amount of affordable housing in the borough.
The multi-million pound regeneration of the estate will see hundreds of flats being demolished and replaced with new homes over the next five years.
Halton Borough Council is investing £500,000 of its housing funds in the project, with the remaining funds coming from the Housing Corporation and housing associations.
Castlefields is one of the areas examined by the council's executive board when they considered various initiatives to develop low cost homes in Halton to fill a gap in the borough's housing market.
There is a particular demand for small starter homes and for specialist accommodation for the elderly.
Cllr Phil Harris, the council's executive board member for housing, leisure and community, said: 'A key aim of the programme is to widen opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds to own their own homes.
'The next stage is to consult on the details of how the programme can be progressed. This could include a design competition for larger schemes which
would be judged by a panel to ensure we get the best deal.'
There are a number of initiatives open to the council, including selling small sites to developers, using regeneration sites, subsidised schemes and partnership schemes.
Selling small sites of low value has been successful in the past, but in recent years, the supply of suitable sites has dried up.
Therefore, the council is to look at ways to market low value sites for open sale, either through registered landlords or private developers.
As part of the council's regeneration strategy, a number of sites in the borough have been developed for the lower price range, including Dukesfield in Runcorn and Eleanor Street in Widnes.
However, the cost is still too high for many people and to develop housing for those on lower incomes, some form of public subsidy is needed.
Castlefields ward councillor Pat Tyrrell said: 'I welcome this move as I hope it will provide a good opportunity for young people to get a start in home ownership.'