A new joint venture which aims to help address the housing affordability crisis in Hertsmere has received council backing.

Hertsmere Borough Council has partnered with housing association Watford Community Housing in a bid to deliver more affordable homes.

It also means a number of social and affordable housing units currently under construction in the borough will be transferred on completion to Watford Community Housing-owned Clarendon Living.

Cllr Caroline Clapper, who is charge of economic development and property at the council, said: "We’re really excited to be taking this first step towards creating a stockholding joint venture company with Clarendon Living.

"Currently, because of the way the council is set up, we cannot retain ownership of properties that we have helped to develop to meet local housing needs. Through this initiative, we wouldn’t need to sell properties we have helped develop to a housing association or on the private market.

"Instead as an equal partner in a joint venture company with Clarendon Living, we would retain nomination rights over those properties and so ensure they are allocated to households that we have identified as most in need."

Home ownership or private rental is out of reach for a significant proportion of Hertsmere's residents.

According to September 2020 data from the local housing need assessment, Hertsmere households must earn at least £67,000 to afford to buy a property and £34,400 to rent privately. However, the lower quartile income level for Hertsmere’s population is £25,300.

Housing lead Cllr Jean Heywood says the council currently has just under 500 households on its housing register.

She said: "The main purpose of this initiative is to help people, who would otherwise not be able to afford it, secure quality, affordable housing for the long-term."

Tina Barnard, who is chief executive of Watford Community Housing, added: "Simply put, we’re stronger together. This joint venture will deliver more affordable housing for Hertsmere, while allowing the council to ensure that it goes to the local people who need it most.

"We have already established two very successful joint ventures with local authority partners in Hertfordshire, which are delivering desperately needed homes for people in both Watford and Three Rivers."