Housing for Gravesham locals only to be declared

PUBLISHED: 14:38 05 January 2011

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Anthony Pritchard

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Anthony Pritchard


Applicants hoping for social housing could find the door locked if they are unable to prove a connection with the borough.

On Monday Gravesham Borough Council cabinet will consider new rules for allocating council housing in response to changes in housing benefit that raise the prospect of London residents being forced to move out of the capital.

Should they pass the rule, all applicants without proven connection to the borough must be approved by a committee before being added to the waiting list.

Gravesham council owns just under 6,000 homes and has a waiting list of 3,180.

Anthony Pritchard, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is a tweaking of the existing regulations. We are not slamming the door shut, but currently everyone goes on an open list. In response to the new changes in housing benefit coming out of Westminster, we are looking at tightening this so those without connection must first be assessed before going on the open list.”

The new housing benefit rules place a cap on weekly payments from a council which could make rents for social housing in many London boroughs unaffordable for large numbers of claimants.

Exclusions to the policy are likely to include ex-servicemen and those due to begin a job in the area.

Cllr Pritchard added: “We are in the process of building five new bungalows, the first to be built in 17 years, and have plans for more social housing this year.

“However, anyway you look at it there is a great need and we have been elected to look after the needs of the voters and this change will promote localism and the interest of those in the borough.”

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