A multi-million pound loan will be handed to a new housing company in a bid to enable it to build up to 2,000 homes on almost 50 sites across the county.

Shropshire Council will hand its wholly-owned and newly-formed house building company Cornovii Developments Ltd the money in a bid to tackle housing shortages and to give young families and workers somewhere affordable to live.

The firm has only just been formed and was rubber stamped at Thursday's full council meeting.

But bosses behind the company say they hope to have planning applications for developments at the former Ifton Heath School, near St Martins and at Frith Road, Shrewsbury, submitted by the end of the year.

Diggers could move onto the sites as early as March next year, the council said.

The Stokes family, who currently live on the site in Ifton are being rehomed and are happy with the developments, Councillor Steve Charmley, deputy leader said.

Mark Barrow, the council’s director of place, said he was “really enthusiastic” about the housing company and said it would bring a number of benefits.

He said the council was lending the new form £14 million in order to start the two developments and plan 49 further more sites across the county.

But he said the money would be paid back and the firm would make a profit which would not be ring fenced and could be spent on other areas of the council’s work.

And Councillor Charmley dispelled any fears that Cornovii would be similar to the council’s failed ip&e business which was set up to make the council money but closed in 2016 after then-leader Malcolm Pate admitted it “had not worked”.

He said: “From the outside looking in you could draw comparisons for sure, but it will be nothing like it. 

“We are setting this up to deliver much needed housing affordably and where people need it.”

Mr Barrow added: “There is so much to feel positive about. I have been talking to businesses and they need houses for their workers to live in or they are leaving Shropshire.

“These homes will be affordable and in the right places for them. Average house prices in certain areas of Shropshire are not achievable for many working families.

“People like to retire, downsize and come to Shropshire – and we welcome that, who wouldn’t want to come and live in this county?

“But we also need to cater for the people who want to stay here, buy a home and set up a family.”

Mr Barrow said the homes would be a range of two, three and four bedrooms and available to buy with a smaller range of affordable rentals.

He said all options will be available including shared ownership and that the authority would be working closely with parish councils to find out what homes are needed.

Councillor Robert Macey, cabinet member for housing, added: “The great news is the flexibility. On the same site you will have all different homes in all kinds of forms including rental, bought, shared ownership.

“If we need bungalows that can happen. We are working hard to build the houses people need.”

Claire Nangle, who is leading the development of Cornovii, said: “There are areas, particularly rural areas in the south and east of the county, where house prices are so high that local people and their families are forced to move away.

“We are hoping to provide more two-bedroom homes that in the commercial sector and with more space.”

She added: “My target is that planning applications are in by the end of the year and that diggers can move in by March.”