COUNCIL bosses have backed a motion which hopes to see the authority given more power to build council houses.

Colchester Council plans to create 350 new affordable homes over the next five years.

But Labour councillor Martyn Warnes proposed a motion which urges the council to lobby the MPs elected in December to take the case to Government.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting he said councillors could no longer sit back.

“Colchester amongst other places is in the midst of a housing crisis,” he said.

“During 2018/19 the Colchester night shelter took in 176 people and as of September this year we have 158 homeless households in temporary accommodation.

“We are currently approaching 3,000 applicants on our housing register. It is therefore self-evident that there is a big need for council accommodation within this borough.”

Mr Warnes has also called for the right to buy policy - which allows tenants to buy their council homes - to be reviewed.

He added: “Last year we sold 28 council houses but only replaced eight.

“In Colchester we have sold 3,000 homes since the right to buy legislation came in, in 1980.”

Adam Fox, the council’s housing boss, backed the moved.

He said: “We know what we need in Colchester. The existing model just doesn’t work.”

Mr Fox also asked if there was an opportunity to look at building council housing as part of the proposed garden towns.

Mark Cory asked for the motion to be amended to include a request for right to buy policy to be reviewed. He described the policy as “deforestation of our council stock”.