CIVIC chiefs want to double the amount of new social housing built over the next three years.

Winchester City Council had planned to build 300 homes but has now announced a new figure of 605.

Council officers have identified sites for affordable housing across the district for schemes of varying size.

The schemes will provide homes for older people and families, and the ambitious plans also aim to provide for young people who want to take their first steps on the housing ladder.

Potential sites include ones that may prove controversial such as plans for 65 homes on land off Harestock Road, on Dykes Farm off Easton Lane, which is within the South Downs national Park.

There are also a proposal to put 100 flats above garages in Winnall.

Caroline Horrill, leader of Winchester City Council and portfolio holder for housing, said: “We want to help our residents by delivering affordable housing and so far our plans to deliver 300 homes are on track. I am delighted that we are doubling our target to 600.

“We aspire to deliver quality affordable housing for residents of all ages across the District and reduce our waiting list. It is important to offer people a choice of housing.”

The news comes as Winchester City Council’s Cabinet Housing Committee also approved plans which mean that The Valley scheme for 76 new homes in Stanmore is a step closer to being delivered.

A spokesman added: “We are working with the landowners and developers to bring forward plans for affordable housing on various sites throughout the district.

“Discussions are at an early stage, however the council is committed to engaging with local communities and other stakeholders as the plans evolve.

“The major sites identified for housing include two potential schemes in Winnall one for 100 homes, the other for 80 homes at Dykes Farm. We are also looking to build 65 homes in Harestock.”