A MAJOR £40m investment is to fund the first phase of scheme to build more council housing across the county, in particular in rural and village areas.

Wiltshire Council’s housing board has agreed plans to fund homes for elderly people on council-owned land in rural settlements, deliver extra care accommodation in market towns and invest funding in stalled sites where investment up front could incentivise developers to develop on sites more quickly.

Council leader Jane Scott said: “One of the main priorities for this council is to ensure we provide decent homes for local people. We are therefore looking at new ways to deliver both family homes and homes for older people."

Working with parish and town councils will be key to the plans, and Wiltshire Council will soon be meeting representatives to establish whether each community could benefit from homes for older people or young families. As well as creating new homes, the plans will also see the council continuing to invest in remodelling and refurbishing existing council homes and expanding the council’s housing stock to ensure local people can continue to live in their communities.

More than £40m, largely from the Housing Revenue Account, which is money accrued from rents from existing council housing stock, will be used to fund the scheme over the next six years. Cllr Richard Clewer, portfolio holder for housing, said: “This is excellent news for Wiltshire as there is significant demand for affordable housing in Wiltshire.

“Our next step is to work with town and parish councils so we can establish what they need in terms of housing to make sure their communities continue to be vibrant and sustainable."