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Plans to axe 8,000 from housing list

Solihull Council are planning to remove the bottom 8,000 from the social housing list

Social housing in the borough
Social housing in the borough

HALF of all those waiting for social housing in Solihull could find themselves no longer eligible under controversial council plans.

There are currently around 16,000 people waiting for a council house in the borough.

But the proposals would see 8,000 at the bottom of that list, those classed as having a lower priority, removed altogether.

Coun Ian Courts, cabinet member for economic development, said the new rules would only allow those with a connection to Solihull and a “housing need” to remain on the list as demand for social housing was “much greater” than supply. No definition of ‘housing need’ was given.

Councillor Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) criticised the move saying it had given “false hope” to thousands.

“The cost of living is still rising and it’s getting harder and harder to get on the private housing ladder.

“Social housing should be more than just a safety net.

“I agree with prioritisation but it’s just such a shame that people can’t get a council property any more.

“People are in a situation where they can’t afford a house but can’t get on the social housing list.

“They are stuck renting and private landlords come in all shapes and sizes.”

Coun Williams called for the council to build more social housing in the borough, as much of the 40 per cent affordable housing requirement on new homes was currently being met by developers building smaller dwellings and one-bed flats in south Solihull.

Currently, the housing list includes bands A to G, with A being the most urgent cases often involving life-threatening medical conditions or domestic violence.

Under the proposals, those in bands F and G could be removed, Coun Williams said:
“This could be a 45-yearold single man who was stuck living with his parents.

“He’s still got a roof over his head but it’s an uncomfortable situation.”
Coun Courts said: “Local authorities now have greater freedom in the rules that they make for joining the housing waiting list.

“The proposed new rules would help ensure local people in greatest housing need are given priority.

“There are currently many people on the waiting list with no connection to Solihull, or who do not have a housing need and they therefore have very little prospect of
obtaining a social tenancy through the council or a local housing association.”

A public consultation will run from October 21 to December 6 with a final
decision to be announced in February.

 

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