NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 10th, 2018.
Opposition politicians have decided to ‘call in’ a decision on how the housing register is run in parts of north Wales.
It comes amid claims that couples and single parents are being left waiting too long to have properties allocated.
The Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) project covers the local authority areas of Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy and currently has a waiting list of more than 1,600 people.
Flintshire Council, which runs the register on behalf of Denbighshire, approved a revised policy looking at how people are prioritised at a cabinet meeting last month.
However, four independent councillors have signed a form to call the Labour administration’s decision in for scrutiny after claiming there were not enough two-bedroom houses in the county to meet demand.
Cllr Helen Brown, who is the main signatory on the notice, said: “Increasingly as members we do get lots and lots of queries so I do think that an overhaul of the new policy is needed and also looking at the types of accommodation on offer.
“You’ll see within the policy that there are a hell of a lot of people that are pointed towards one and two bedrooms and we already know we don’t have enough two-bedrooms.
“You can’t have the vast amount of people going onto a list for two-bedroom when we realistically don’t have them and you’re going to be waiting an awful long time.
“If you’ve got two children under the age of 16, do you really want a two-bedroom house? You don’t.
“I know the policy says that you can share until you’re 16 but in real life it’s not acceptable.”
In a report which went before the cabinet, Cllr Bernie Attridge, the authority’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing said people waiting for one, two and three bedroom houses had been waiting between twelve to eighteen months for a property on average.
Applications are currently banded into four different categories.
The vast majority of cases go into band two, which is for applicants with a local connection and a housing need, while band one applicants are those with an extreme urgent need.
Meanwhile bands three and four are for people with no local connection or those who have had their banding reduced as a result of their behaviour, not addressing rent arrears or who are able to resolve their own housing need.
Cllr Attridge said: “The numbers on the social housing register are increasing and as such waiting times for properties are becoming longer.
“The current process for administrating applications is manual and extremely labour intensive and this was becoming a pressure as volumes increased.
“Work is currently underway to introduce automation of the process which will streamline processes and allow the limited resources available to focus on the more critical aspects of the service.
“The growing demand for social housing and increased wait times presents
a risk of increased pressure on the homeless service.”
The decision will now be examined by members of the community and enterprise scrutiny committee at a meeting at County Hall in Mold on Friday.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.