Thousands of Colchester residents already struggling to get on the housing ladder could be hit by a new ruling.

Previously, 35 per cent of homes on new large-scale developments had to be “affordable.”

Now changes to Colchester’s local plan - the town’s planning blueprint - mean only 20 per cent must be “affordable.”

The change could affect future building projects such as the former Betts factory site, in Ipswich Road, where Bellway Homes is expected to lodge a formal application for a 200-home development in the next month.

A council spokesman said: “New national policy has put a strong focus on the viability of developments.

“A study carried out for the council showed that the previous affordable housing requirement of 35 per cent was not realistic and that 20 per cent is more achievable.”

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