Help to bring troops ‘home’

Scarborough troops struggling to get housing away from the town, could be given priority bidding for social housing back in their home town.
Scarborough troops struggling to get housing away from the town, could be given priority bidding for social housing back in their home town.
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Troops stationed away from Scarborough will be able to “come home” once their service ends, under new housing changes by the council.

Proposed changes to the North Yorkshire Home Choice scheme would mean Scarborough army veterans in urgent need of housing would be given additional preference when applying for social housing.

The plans, which will be put before full council later this month for recommendation, have been fully backed by housing portfolio holder Cllr Bill Chatt, who said it is the latest example of Scarborough looking after its soldiers.

“It’s about bringing people back to the area they know, and to where they want to be,” said the Woodlands ward representative.

“A lot of the time, they are based in barracks in somewhere like Hampshire, and they want to come back up home, and what we are saying with this is ‘fantastic, we want you back’.”

The change is just one of several to the scheme, which has been in operation since June 2011.

These changes are being introduced in response to wider national policy changes, including the welfare reform legislation and the Localism Act.

Other changes to the scheme, which is run with Yorkshire Coast Homes, will mean applicants will only be able to bid for the size of the property they need.

The council hopes that this will stop residents unnecessarily falling foul of the controversial bedroom tax, that came into force earlier this year.

People without obvious ties to Scarborough will also be banned from joining the housing register.

Residents looking to adopt will also be given additional preference, and Cllr Chatt said that these measures were simply “common sense”.

He added: “Like many people, I’ve always heard that rumour that all of the houses go to people in West Yorkshire.

“What we are saying now is that the houses in the borough of Scarborough go to people living in this area that need them.”

Cabinet has recently approved the changes, and a recommendation will be made at the next full council meeting.