MORE than 100 affordable homes have become available for occupation in an expensive and desirable Lancashire borough.

The houses, flats and bungalows are in the rural Ribble Valley towns and villages of Clitheroe, Whalley, Barrow, Chipping, Hurst Green and Longridge.

They are on offer for affordable rent, shared ownership or discount sale to local households with combined annual earnings below £80,000.

Rachael Stott, the borough’s housing strategy officer, is advising anyone interested to register quickly.

The news has been welcomed by Cllr Allan Knox, leader of the council Liberal Democrat group, and Cllr Terry Hill, leader of the Democratic Conservatives.

Mrs Stott said: “The provision of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the council and we are working closely with our housing partners to address this problem.

“New properties are becoming available across the borough over the coming months and demand is expected to be high, so we advise anyone in need of affordable housing to register their interest without delay.”

Cllr Knox said: “House prices in the Ribble Valley are the highest in Lancashire, so it follows that rental values are high too.

“What the council needs to do is ensure that there is an adequate supply of affordable properties, both to buy and rent, otherwise in the long run our local economy will stagnate due to the lack of an available local workforce.

“There are hundreds of families on the housing waiting list.”

Cllr Hill said: “I welcome the fact that Ribble Valley does make strenuous efforts to force developers to comply with the requirement to provide 30 per cent affordable housing on all major developments for people with a local connection.

“This at least enables older people to downsize and younger residents to purchase new houses within their own locality at reasonable prices.”

For shared ownership or discount sale properties, people should contact Ribble Valley Borough Council on 01200 425111 and for rented properties Onward Homes on 0800 111 4448.

Under shared ownership, purchasers can buy between 25 and 75 per cent of the property, with rent on the remainder, while discount sale properties are available to people with a local connection for up to 40 per cent below the market value. New homes are available for affordable rent below the market value.