Friday, May 25, 2007

Light in the Tunnel

Following-on from an item we discussed here recently, Kent Online reports that

"Thanet is in the grip of a social housing crisis, with many people waiting years for disability adaptations or even leaving the Isle to find a suitable home."

The story add that "With more than 4,500 households on Thanet council’s waiting list and a woeful central government disability grant, there is little light at the end of the tunnel."

Commenting on the report, Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, the new Cabinet Member for Housing at TDC, said: "There is a backlog of people waiting for disabled facilities grants in Thanet, as there is elsewhere in the country.

"Thanet Council increased its input to the DFG budget this year, but unfortunately, this wasn’t matched by central government, as reported earlier this year.

"It is very difficult to manage the size of our waiting list without increased funding. However, we have introduced a new priority system and other measures in an attempt to reduce the waiting times and impact for those people waiting.

"There are currently more than 4,500 households on the Council’s waiting list, with 165 in Band A, and 171 with an Occupational Therapy assessment, stating that they need an adapted property to move in to.

"One of the difficulties that this group faces, in addition to the lack of affordable housing generally, is that very little affordable housing in Thanet is suitable for adaptation, particularly where level access or a lift is required.

"Clearly, we have been affected by the 'Right to Buy’, but we are working with our Registered Social Landlord partners to identify new sites for building affordable homes, including having some affordable housing on large strategic sites like Westwood Cross, and where possible we will be have a percentage of adapted homes on those sites."

Ed, this story returns us to the question of priorities. With little or no funding available and other local authorities as far away as Manchester reportedly "advertising" B&B accomodation in Margate, there's a huge strain on the existing social housing stock. Many people living in Thanet might also advocate the introduction of border control at the St Nicholas roundabout but without money and with a growing demand for new houses on the island, the council finds itself very much between a rock and a hard place in trying to achieve the best with the resources that it has available.


Anonymous said...

How right you are - I would ask where is all the social housing that is supposed to be provided from the massive developments going on in the area - we are given %'s such as at Westwood 30% which would produce around 300 units for social housing but then rumours are rife that people from London are already lining up for these properties where does that leave the local people?
We are still waiting to hear where the so called social housing promised from the St. Augustine's development is to be I was recently told by Ingrid Spencer that the development was in the third stage - I would ask of what?
More private dwellings for profit -of course developers are in the business for profit but the promises they make to obtain the land in the first place should be enforced.
A bit tongue in cheek this but the fact that I was recently told that Paul Carter Leader of KCC is a property developer, owns a large house in Birchington which, it is
rumoured, he has applied for planning permission to convert into four flats doesn't give much strength to the spiel about conservation, environment heritage etc does it.
eileen cunnew

The SPY said...

Perhaps Cllr Wiltshire would inform Dr Moores if there is any truth in the Westwood cross rumour that large chunks of the 1000 homes are being purchased by Lambeth council? Im sure the 4000 people on Thanets housing list would be most interested,or is this T D C's idea of 'breathing new life into Thanet?

DrMoores said...

It's a question that has been asked before and I've been told that nobody in TDC is aware of any Lambeth connection, as such a thing would have a significant paper trail.

So far it sounds a little like a local conspiracy theory and a good story for anyone who wants to believe it. If any evidence to spport it appears, I will let you know!