TWO new affordable homes have been opened in Falfield to help meet the need for rural rented housing.

Knightstone Housing developed the houses, with South Gloucestershire Council giving the land for free as well as contributing £50,000 towards the scheme.

The Homes and Communities Agency, the national housing and regeneration agency for England, also put £70,000 into the project.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the site of the Orchard View homes, which are both occupied and are being managed by Merlin Housing Society.

Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb was among guests, together with Knightstone's board chairman Nick Medhurst, ward councillor John O'Neill and Matthew Riddle, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council's adults and housing committee.

The houses, built by Gloucester-based Markey Construction, were opened during the National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week.

Mr Medhurst said "Knightstone is committed to providing more rural housing and we’re working closely with South Gloucestershire Council and other local authorities to achieve this."

Councillor Riddle said: "Providing affordable housing for our rural communities is a priority for the council and I’m delighted that through our partnership with Knightstone Housing, we’ve been able to open these two new homes."

Merlin’s development manager, Peter Crouch, said: "We’re always looking for opportunities to increase the amount of rural homes we manage, so are delighted to be working with Knightstone Housing to give two families an affordable home."