Hundreds to be removed from North Herts housing register

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HUNDREDS of people will be removed from the social housing register in North Herts, after councillors gave the nod last night (Tuesday).

North Herts District Council’s Cabinet said it wanted to provide houses “to those who really need it”, as it agreed to remove those with rent arrears and criminal convictions from the list.

Those without a local connection will also be affected.

Speaking at the meeting, housing portfolio holder Cllr Bernard Lovewell said: “At the moment, anybody is entitled to join the register and we now have over 3,100 households on the register and it’s growing.

“It’s been a massive piece of work and I think the outcome is that social housing should go to those with the greatest need, and more than that, those who will be good tenants and good neighbours. I think that’s very important.”

On the outcome of a public consultation held earlier in the year, he added: “There was a fairly overwhelming favour for the proposals.”

More than 800 households will be affected as a result of the changes, which will come into effect in around four months.

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Councillors agreed the scheme, which would also stop people from joining the list, would be reviewed and also said there would be some element of discretion.

But concerns have been aired over the impact the changes will have.

Cllr Clare Billing, North Herts Labour Group housing representative, told the Comet: “I think it will cost more money because people will have to be put into private accommodation instead.

“It’s not very helpful for the family who should be helped to take on those issues.”

North Herts Citizens Advice Bureau manager Sally Salisbury also had some concerns.

She said: “If somebody is in arrears we would rather be helping them to achieve paying those arrears. We’d rather do more preventative work.

“It’s far better for the client to work through the process rather than to have them end up being made homeless, and the impact that has on their families.”

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