HOUSING chiefs have outlined two schemes to build much-needed affordable housing for locals.

Experts say the average house price in parts of Richmondshire is more than ten times the average annual wage of people in the area.

This gap between earnings and house prices has prompted the district council to investigate ways of creating more affordable housing to rent.

Next week, district councillors will discuss schemes to build ten homes in Middleham and ten in Catterick Village.

Two council-owned sites have been identified as suitable for housing in Middleham.

Councillors will decide whether to give the land free to Broadacres Housing Association.

Negotiations are ongoing with the private owner of a third site in the town.

In Catterick Garrison, housing officers recommend land in Noels Court is donated to Tees Valley Housing Group for housing.

Other suitable sites in the village are being investigated.

Richmondshire District Council officer Kirsty Haslam said: "It is essential that local people get an opportunity to live and work in the area they grew up in, so it is essential we provide local homes for local people at a price they can afford."

She said demand for second homes had pushed up the price of smaller homes, sought after by local first-time buyers.

Council officials say the right-to-buy initiative had also led to less affordable housing.

The homes will be two and three-bedroom properties.

The plans have the support of community leaders in Middleham and Catterick Village.

Middleham Mayor Tammi Tolhurst said a survey of every household in the town found that affordable housing was a priority.

She said: "Primarily, this is because there are families who have been here for several generations that want to stay here, but cannot get a foot on the housing ladder."

The district council also plans to build more affordable housing in Leyburn. However, officers say finding suitable land is difficult.

Councillors will meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal.