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Bid to cut outsiders from housing list

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 22, 2014

  • Cornwall Council Cabinet member for housing Geoff Brown.

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THOUSANDS of people on Cornwall's housing waiting list live outside the county and now councillors want them removed.

Conservative councillor Scott Mann signalled that he wanted to remove almost 9,000 people who he claimed did not have a residential address in Cornwall.

He highlighted the anomaly during a debate at a full council meeting on Tuesday about the council's strategic housing framework document, which sets a strategy for housing for the next five years.

The report also shows that almost 100,000 homes in Cornwall were considered "non-decent" and need a total of £637 million spending on them to them bring up to standard.

Mr Mann called for a review of the council's Homechoice register of people looking for social rented properties and said it should "strike off" anyone without a residential address in Cornwall. The suggestion is to be considered, although some councillors had reservations.

They said there are some people living just over the border in Devon who have a legitimate claim for housing in Cornwall, and also felt that Armed Forces' personnel could be excluded.

Councillors welcomed the framework document although all expressed concern over the challenges facing Cornwall Council in providing sufficient decent housing.

Labour councillor Cornelius Olivier said there were issues around what was considered an affordable home.

He said: "The affordability criteria that has been imposed on us is related to the market cost of housing not the earning power of the people of Cornwall.

"Another problem is the substantial proportion of second homes in Cornwall plus the very serious problem of the low quality of housing and the lack of security of tenure for private sector tenants, which is often just six months.

"All these issues need government legislation to change.

"Whatever the efforts of the portfolio holder and the officers, unless there is a change in government thinking and investment we will not be able to meet the needs of the people of Cornwall."

Cabinet member for housing Geoff Brown commended the report to the council and highlighted the work that was being done to improve housing provision.

He said that the council was the fourth highest in the country for the provision of affordable homes, with 2,227 over the past three years.

He also said that 721 long-term empty properties have been brought back into use.

He said the council was committed to "delivering the right homes in the right places".

The document will now be sent out for consultation.

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