More residents in Conservative-controlled Wealden could soon become eligible for affordable housing following agreement by council leaders to modify the requirements as part of a policy review.
At a meeting of Wealden District Council's ruling Cabinet today (8 June), it was agreed to remove an income threshold to housing allocation. At the moment, households must earn under £30,500 a year before they can qualify for affordable housing via the council.
Today's decision by the Conservative Cabinet will see that income cap removed to be replaced by an Affordability Assessment. This will examine individual circumstances of each applicant.
Housing portfolio holder at Wealden, Councillor Ray Cade, told the meeting:
"This method examines the effect of living conditions, costs and incomes pertaining to that particular applicant — in other words a personal assessment set against the prevailing social, financial and circumstantial situation of the individual or household. It is replacing an outdated, inefficient and inflexible scheme that is clearly not meeting the needs of people seeking an affordable and decent place to live in our district."
The move is intended to aid residents who are struggling with the rising cost of living and can't, for whatever reason, find housing in the private sector.
The Cabinet also agreed to "significantly increase" the current savings limits as part of the new system. For retirement properties the threshold would rise to £50,000. ‘maintain a tenancy’.
These proposed changes will now go out for formal consultation and council leader, Conservative Ann Newton, said that there had been an awful lot of work behind the scenes on this. "I think it has to come forward, because the system in which we were working, just wasn’t working", she said.