NEW flats which will be built as part of the Braintree town centre regeneration scheme could be sold off and allocated as affordable housing.

Braintree Council has revealed it has opened negotiations with an unnamed housing group over the sale of all or some of the new apartment homes.

The proposed offer will be considered at a cabinet meeting on Monday, September 9.

Were the flats to be sold to the housing group, they could be offered up on a scheme which helps residents who cannot afford to purchase or rent a home on the open market.

The new homes planned for the site include a mix of 35 one, two and three bedroom apartments which could be made available to buy through a shared ownership scheme aimed at helping first-time buyers.

The flats form part of the Braintree town regeneration project which will bring homes, services and business into the town centre and rejuvenate the look and feel of the area behind the town hall.

It is hoped the development could create more than 100 new jobs.

Council bosses are in negotiations with Kier Construction Limited to lead the project, which will see a “Livewell” hub, pharmacy, 70 bedroom Travelodge, bus interchange, twin-level car park and retail units all built along Manor Street and part of Victoria Street.

Councillor Kevin Bowers, the council's homes boss, said: "We know that residents are finding it more and more difficult to find homes to buy at a price point that they can afford in our district.

"The housing market is failing so many people - so it’s right that we should consider ways of helping more people access the housing market and get on the property ladder.”

Councillor John McKee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Transformation at Braintree District Council, added: “Our investment in this scheme will be a real boost for Braintree.

"The character of towns are changing and by bringing residents and visitors back into the town centre we’ll be doing our part in keeping it alive.

"The more people there are dining out at restaurants, running errands around town or visiting the new amenities, like the “Livewell” Hub, the more local businesses will benefit and the more jobs will be created.

"This regeneration will modernise and transform the look and feel of our market town and I for one can’t wait to see what it will look like."