Charity calls for affordable homes

A NATIONAL housing charity has called on Daventry District Council (DDC) to do more to provide affordable homes.

Shelter’s latest research shows that, while DDC provided 57 new affordable houses between 2006/07 and 2008/09, it had predicted a need for 412.

At the moment, there are 1,921 individuals, couples and families on the council’s housing waiting list. This Christmas and New Year DDC there were also had four homeless applicants in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs.

Director of campaigns, policy and communications at Shelter Kay Boycott said: “With 1.8 million households on housing waiting lists, millions priced out of the housing market and increasing numbers of people forced into an insecure private rented sector, a lack of affordable housing is the root cause of our housing crisis.”

Research carried out by Shelter found DDC had delivered only 14 per cent of the affordable housing needed in the local area.

“With current Government proposals to increase the responsibility of local authorities for planning decisions, we hope to see the local council working to meet the housing needs of local people, in particular the 2,000 households currently stuck on housing waiting lists,” Ms Boycott added.

DDC’s performance has led Shelter to rank it 205th out of 323 English local authorities for providing affordable homes.

However, the council says it has a policy in place to tackle the problem.

Community corporate man-ager at the council Maria Taylor said: “There are presently 1,921 applications on the DDC housing waiting list, but this changes daily.

“The list is about 400 fewer than at this time last year, not because demand has reduced but because we changed systems. We successfully transferred to a new web-based Choice Based Lettings system during 2010 and as we re-registered applications onto the new list not everyone reapplied.

“Choice Based Lettings plays a key role in reducing the waiting list – we advertise all vacant social rented property on there, so people looking for housing get a clear idea of exactly what is available.

“The council has also adopted a housing strategy which identifies the sort of housing needed locally, and this in turn influences planning policy for the area. This is why all new developments of 15 houses or more have to include one third affordable housing.”