Specialist housing consultants have been taken on by Huntingdonshire District Council in a bid to address affordable housing problems.

Altair will draw up a report on options for a range of new ways of providing homes and tackling the shortage of housing supply overall, as well as reducing the use of temporary accommodation for homeless households.

Cllr Ryan Fuller, deputy council leader and executive councillor for housing and planning, said: "It has been widely reported nationally that we have a broken housing market. Consequently, against a backdrop of spiralling house prices and expensive and unstable rents, local authorities have struggled to deliver the right quantity and mix of housing required by their communities.

"Availability and affordability of housing is one of the greatest barriers to social progress in the country today."

He said: "I am therefore determined that HDC addresses this in Huntingdonshire and the consideration of housing delivery models will enable us to more directly influence and intervene to meet the needs of our community."

Altair is already providing advice to other councils, housing associations and developers and will work closely with Huntingdonshire's staff and councillors to reach its long-term objectives.

Its report will set out the most appropriate housing models for the authority to consider adopting, along with the type of homes to be made available.

The move has come about through an initiative by the Local Government Association which funds independent advisers on housing issues and the link will not cost the council anything.

Cllr Fuller said: "Potentially, there are multiple benefits os us establishing new housing delivery actions, especially those that are specifically centred on the needs of Huntingdonshire residents.

"Nationally, the new Affordable Houses Programme initiative offers significant opportunity to councils and housing associations who are now able to access support to build additional homes and at rents that are potentially more affordable for local people."

He added: "We should therefore ensure that Huntingdonshire is at the forefront of delivering truly affordable homes for our residents to rent and buy."