Changes to social housing in Chichester district

Chichetser  PHOTO BY ALLAN HUTCHINGS (111872-812)
Chichetser PHOTO BY ALLAN HUTCHINGS (111872-812)

CHANGES to the way in which social housing is allocated will be put before councillors tomorrow (Thursday, June 13).

Proposals include allowing members of the armed forces, or those who have served in the last five years, to join the housing register.

The changes are being put forward as part of the Chichester Housing Strategy 2013-18. Other changes include only allowing applicants to join if they have lived in the district continuously for two years, have lived in the district for four of the last six years or have been employed in the district for at least 24 hours a week, for at least one year.

Applicants will be excluded if their household income is more than four times the local housing allowance or if a member has been involved in anti-social behaviour in the last five years.

Tangmere will also be included in the scheme, which incorporates rural allocations. It was originally excluded because its population was expected to reach 3,000 soon.

The housing strategy, set to be presented by Cllr Carol Purnell, aims to set out the four ‘key priority’ areas in the district over the next five years. The four priorities up to 2018 are:

Maximise the supply of local homes to meet the needs of local people

Make the most effective use of housing stock, while maintaining sustainable communities

Enable local people to find their own solutions

Provide additional support for those most in need.

In a foreword, Cllr Purnell said the absence of a local plan, the South Downs National Park and reduced grants all restricted the district’s housing.

“Affordability is a major issue,” she said.

“Chichester is a very desirable place to live and despite the housing market recession, house prices in the district have continued to rise.

“At the same time, salaries in the district are falling and increased demand in the private rented sector has caused rents to spiral upwards.

“Many young people are forced to leave the district to find affordable accommodation.”

The strategy will be presented at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting from 10am tomorrow at East Pallant House, Chichester.