Action on social housing

Responding to concerns raised about the number of people requesting social housing during the current economic climate, B&NES Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Housing, Cllr Vic Pritchard (Con, Chew Valley South), has promised that the Council will do everything it can to help people waiting on the Housing register.

Councillor Pritchard said:

“It is of vital importance that in the current economic climate we take action to address the number of people on the social housing register. It would obviously take a multi-million pound cash injection from Government to the Housing Corporation if thousands of new social houses were to be built, but there are steps which the Council can take to help the situation.

“One of the key things I have instructed Housing Services to do at the moment is develop an Empty Property Action Plan. This initiative will be dedicated to assessing what long-term disused property can be brought up to standard and made available again. This will then mean we have a clear strategy on when the Council can use an ‘Empty Dwelling Management Order’ to make a disused house available for social housing. Obviously many empty properties may be due to the owner being in hospital, or because the house is being renovated, or because the house is being dealt with through probate. This means an exact figure on how many can be turned into social housing at any one time are not possible, and so we have to deal with empty properties on a case-by-case basis.”

Councillor Pritchard also highlighted some of the other actions being taken to address the numbers of people on the housing register, including: Working with the private rental sector so that affordable private rentals which meet the right standards and criteria are advertised on the Council’s Homesearch website.

A new and enhanced Homesearch Policy since December 2008 to ensure that those in greatest need are prioritised on the social housing register.