Holidaymakers clog up south Norfolk housing lists
Holidaymakers are clogging up the waiting list for council homes by applying for houses in the hope they may retire to Norfolk, according to a council leader.
South Norfolk Council launched a plan in April to slash the length of its register for social housing, after research showed around 70pc of applicants had little or no need for council homes.
Council leader John Fuller said: 'It's crazy. A proportion of people come on holiday and think they would like to retire to Norfolk.'
The research by consultants KPMG and South Norfolk Council showed just over half of the 4,000 applicants on the register, including one applicant who registered in 1968, had never bid for a council home.
On April 1, the council brought in stricter rules for people applying for council homes, including replacing an online application form, which 80pc of applicants would fill out incorrectly, with an interview by council staff.
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Applications now have to be done over the phone or by visiting the council's offices, while households who find a home are barred from the register for a year and successful applicants are removed from the register if they fail to bid for a home within a year.
Mr Fuller said the changes were being made to give priority to those in the greatest need.
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He said the council wanted to end the misconception that if you put your name on the register you would eventually get to the top of the list.
'We need to be honest with people,' he said. 'We will house people on the basis of need. Not on the basis of how long they have been listed.'
Mr Fuller said they had come across one case of a woman from south Norfolk who had moved to live with her boyfriend in Great Yarmouth.
Their relationship soon ended, but she could not move back to south Norfolk as she had lost her place on the council's housing register.
Under the new rules priority will also be given to servicemen and women in south Norfolk.