COUNCIL representatives in Ringwood are stepping up discussions on how to tackle the shortage of "genuinely" affordable housing in the area.

A detailed report was produced for the town council's planning committee meeting which took place yesterday as members attempt to formulate an approach to support first time buyers.

Construction of a large housing development in Ringwood is on-going at Crow Arch Lane, however residents have spoken out in frustration over a lack of housing options for people to get onto the property ladder.

The report to the planning committee says the council has had reservations about the lack of affordable housing - as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework - available for young people, expressing these concerns through consultation's on New Forest District Council's Local Plan, which is currently under review.

It goes on to say the district council shares these concerns and work has been done to address the issue.

To look into the issue further it is recommended to members that Ringwood Town Council sets up a working party to discuss all available options in more detail.

These include seeking to influence policies in the emerging Local Plan and carrying out surveys with relevant groups such as estate agents.

Cllr Tim Ward, vice chair of the planning committee, said: "We have discussed this at length for some time and continue to do so.

"There is a national issue but it is particularly prominent in this area because of the price of housing.

"On the first phase of the Linden Homes development there were three bedroom terraced houses and they were by no means affordable for first time buyers.

"We are pushing for genuinely affordable housing at a price suitable for first time buyer, but of course if developers say they can't afford to do it they will walk away.

"Everybody knows there is a shortage of housing, but finding the solution is difficult."