BOURNEMOUTH is looking to tackle its affordable housing crisis by building the biggest development of family council homes for decades.

The £6.5million scheme will see 50 two, three and four-bedroom houses built on former playing fields at Duck Lane in Kinson.

If approved, the scheme will be the biggest new family council housing scheme in the town since Townsend was completed in the 1980s. It will also provide a much-needed boost for the local economy.

Bournemouth council has recently changed the criteria for people who can join the housing register but still has 2,250 applicants on the waiting list who are in significant housing need.

Cllr Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing, said: “As well as providing a showcase site that Bournemouth can really be proud of, this is a £6.5m boost to the local economy.

“Government figures show that for every pound we spend on building, 92 pence stays in the area. We will use local contractors and there will be opportunities for apprentices.

“This will provide much-needed, good-quality family housing that could potentially make a real difference to the lives of 250 to 300 people. They will have a well-designed, spa¬cious, environmentally-friendly home to live in.”

Two acres of the 6.5 acre site will be left as open space and the homes will be significantly bigger and more energy efficient than those usually proposed by private developers.

Following public consultation, the proposals have been revised several times. The access will now be off Holloway Avenue and the new properties will be built at the other end of the site to the existing houses in Holloway Avenue.

The scheme also includes a new community building, landscaped areas, cycle routes and a sunken skateboard park.

All the homes will have two parking spaces and large, secure rear gardens.

Cllr Lawton added: “If this site was being developed by a private developer, they would probably put double the number of properties on there. But this is our scheme and we are focusing on providing really good-quality family homes in a spacious environment.”

The council will fund the new homes with investment from the Homes and Community Agency, prudential borrowing and developer contributions.

It is also looking for other sites across the borough that might be suitable for other council house developments.