HOUSING bosses have announced plans to make homes more affordable in one of the wealthiest areas of Hampshire.

The housing strategy at New Forest District Council, that comes into effect next year, has been announced in an attempt to address the affordability of homes across the Forest.

Now, the authority is turning to the public for help in setting out its plans in a bid to fix the problem.

Lasting for five years, the strategy sets out the council’s proposed approach and helps to shape housing policies.

Through adding more sheltered accommodation for the elderly, building more council homes and offering a broader range of properties in terms of price, the council hopes to solve the issue.

Flo Churchill, executive head of planning and housing, said: “We know that housing is expensive across the district and we want to be active in helping to provide different options for our residents and at the same time ensuring we increase the supply and quality of housing that we control.”

Before the end of 2017, the plans will also be open to the public for comments from community members in a bid to work together and appease potential protesters.

According to figures from 2015, homes in the New Forest are the most expensive in any national park in England and Wales, with an average price of more than £450,000.

The council’s three key themes in the plans include maximising delivery of affordable housing through a range of options, addressing the needs of vulnerable and homeless people and working with residents to come to a solution to the housing problems.

Councillor David Harrison said: “The plans for new housing needs to be incredibly well thought out and how it is all going to be linked together through the New Forest.

“With cycling facilities, traffic and air quality management, we need to make sure new houses suit everybody as much as we can.

“I will be arguing through the consultation process that while we may be providing houses that people from elsewhere would love to live in, we need to make sure we are appealing to local people.”

Housing bosses also say that investment for their programme will be sought from central government and other initiatives, including homeless prevention groups.

The plans begin in 2018 and run until 2023.