Parish council anger over housing priority

A HOUSING company has been accused of putting locals last by giving priority to people from outside the area for social housing in Hadston.

At their meeting on Monday, East Chevington parish councillors said Isos – which runs 12,000 homes across the North East – had repeatedly given properties in the village to people from as far afield as Newcastle, despite a pressing local need for housing.

Chairman Scott Dickinson said: “People from outside the area are often getting houses before locals and we should start talks with Isos so that when houses become available, they give priority to local people.”

Coun Fred Thurgood raised further concerns about the potential re-development of the former middle school site for housing.

He added: “I would be more in favour of it if local people had a chance of the housing, but that’s not the way Isos is doing things here. I’m concerned that if this site is given to Isos, they will ship in even more people from Newcastle.”

County councillor Glen Sanderson said: “The important thing is that we get more affordable and social houses that local people can live in.”

But Isos has disputed the allegations, saying all properties across Northumberland are allocated using the county-wide Northumberland Homefinder system – the same method as all the other social landlords in the county.

Homefinder works on a scoring system, by banding applicants according to their degree of housing need. One of the criteria for allocating properties is the applicant having a connection to Northumberland.

Kath Glen, Isos’ housing manager for Northumberland, said: “Homefinder is a fair and open allocation system, which does not favour any one applicant, or group of applicants, over another. It helps to ensure social housing is allocated to those most in need.”

Isos also said it had checked all the housing allocations made to Isos properties in the East Chevington area in the last two years, and found that of those 43 households, 86 per cent moved from a previous address within a 10 mile radius – including 58 per cent from within the parish.