LOCALS-ONLY affordable homes are being built in west Dorset on land donated by the family of a naval hero who fought with Admiral Lord Nelson.

The £2m project will help combat a housing crisis in Lyme Regis, where the average price of property is £350,000, well out of reach for many locals.

To help combat the problem, landowner and entrepreneur David Garman agreed to make available the one acre plot to the community.

Mr Garman, 95, is a descendant of Admiral John Talbot who served on HMS Victory alongside Nelson in the Napoleonic Wars.

Mr Garman, who designed the world's first portable bath lift in 1981, now lives in Wales but still owns some of the land that has been in his family on his mother's side ever since.

He sold the site for a nominal price to the Lyme Regis Community Land Trust, a not-for-profit organisation set up to find affordable homes for locals.

The trust secured £2m of public funding to build the new cul-de-sac after planning permission was granted.

The 15 properties - four three-bed, six two-bed and five one-bed homes - are nearly finished and will be let to locals who can prove they have lived in Lyme Regis for five out of the last 10 years.

They will pay a rent of no more than 80 per cent of the market value, which is about £800 a month for a three bed house.

The trust has named the new estate Garman's Field in a nod to the philanthropist.

Keith Jenkin, chairman of Lyme Regis CLT, said: "In Lyme Regis, employment opportunities are rather limited with many jobs being seasonal, so high rents have been compounded by relatively low incomes for many residents.

"There is a shortage of affordable housing for rent and many young people find it difficult to obtain accommodation in their home town.

"We were set up as an effective means of resolving some of the housing needs of local people.

"Once we located a preferred site which could only be built on for affordable housing, we found the land owner's details in the Land Registry and called him.

"You could say it was the most successful cold call of all time. He said it sounded very interesting and things have progressed well from there.

"Mr Garman is a philanthropist and a very kind-hearted man who has sold us the land for a tenth of its value.

"It's hugely satisfying and the culmination of a lot of hard work to be at this stage, but you have to remember there are still well over 50 people on the council waiting list.

"This project will make a dent in that but a lot still needs to be done to help local people get homes."

Funding for the development has come from the government's Home and Communities Agency with further contributions from West Dorset District Council.

Housing Association Yarlington Housing Group has also contributed and will manage the properties.