Just six homes out of 35 being developed by Essex County Council in Harlow will be affordable.

The development of land at the former primary school at Purford Green will eventually provide 29 open market homes and six affordable homes – three of which will be affordable rent and three shared ownership homes.

The council has said the scheme “strongly supports” the delivery of the council’s plan, ‘Everyone’s Essex’, providing a “high-quality environment, strong, inclusive and sustainable economy, promoting health, wellbeing and independence for all ages”.

The development of Purford Green is proposed to be delivered by the authority’s arms-length housing company, Essex Housing Development LLP.

The affordable homes represent just over 17 per cent of the total. but Cllr Mike Mackrory, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the county council, said this was not enough.

He said: “I find the number of affordable units – just six out of the 35 – to be disappointingly low given the demand for the affordable rent and accommodation in Harlow.

“Most progressive authorities go for 35 per cent affordable homes.”

Cllr Lesley Wagland, cabinet member for economic renewal, infrastructure and planning said: “I think you need to look at the performance of Essex Housing in the round because there we are talking about 47 per cent affordable.

“In some of the projects the financial viability is a greater challenge but what we are able to do in the round is to produce that sort of affordability.

“We are involved very heavily at Essex County Council on the garden community in Harlow and on the affordability level there we are fighting to make sure the private sector lives up to the sort of affordability we are able to achieve.”

To finance the deal, there will be a development loan provided by the county council to cover any capital costs involved in the development of Purford Green by Essex Housing.

The loan will be repaid to the council through the proceeds of sale of units built on the site.

Cllr Wagland said: “This reusable redundant public sector access its another part of the regeneration of Harlow and it delivers a surplus to reinvest into vital Essex County Council services.”

The plans are currently with Harlow Council planning department for determination.