PLANS to plough £64m into more than 2,000 affordable homes has been welcomed but the council has been urged to be more flexible with its planning policy.

Oxford City Council revealed a target of 2050 affordable homes between now and 2023, 530 of which will be delivered by its own housing company.

But the remaining homes rely on private developers being made to stick to the council's policy that 50 per cent of developments must be affordable housing - available to rent or buy at no more than 80 per cent market value.

The majority of the homes are in existing schemes, such as Barton Park, Northern Gateway, Templars Square and Oxpens.

Andrew Gant, leader of city's Liberal Democrat group, said: "Very few large schemes deliver 50 per cent affordable housing.

"We welcome setting an ambitious target, and certainly would not suggest the viability process has not been followed properly.

"But in projecting numbers forward into the future we have to look at what has actually been achieved - greater flexibility around these percentages could allow innovation."

He added: "The commitment to more funding for affordable housing is welcome, and we support it - but policy needs to be right to deliver the right outcomes, and numbers need to be based on fact, not aspiration."

The council defended its policy and said that some recent developments, including a combined 108 homes in Barns Road, Dora Carr Close and Westlands Drive had produced 69 per cent affordable housing.

It also said Barton Park had achieved 40 per cent with the developer contributing a further £10m towards schools, transport and a GP surgery.

But the recently-approved Templars Square development in Cowley will only deliver 23 per cent affordable housing after developers NewRiver said anymore would make the scheme 'unviable'.

The city council's board member for housing, Mike Rowley, said: "Greater flexibility in applying our affordable housing policy would only make it easier for developers to get away with reducing their social housing commitments.

"It is the grossly inflated housing market, not the City Council, that has delivered prices people cannot afford."