New policy is safe as houses

230309 norman work cheque presentation to the haven at sq
230309 norman work cheque presentation to the haven at sq
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People living in the Queensferry area are to continue to get priority over residents from across Edinburgh when looking for a council property in the town.

That was the outcome of last week’s city council housing committee meeting.

City council officials had recommended to do away with the historic “local connection” letting policy on housing allocations and instead change it to allow anyone across the city the opportunity to snap up council homes in the Queensferry area when they became available.

But Almond councillor Norman Work, who is also the city council’s depute housing convenor, gained a victory for Queensferry residents after he fought to overturn the official recommendation and won.

He said: “I am really pleased with the result.

‘‘I have been fighting for a long time to have this policy continued and I am glad that fellow councillors backed me.”

The city council recommendation would have seen people from across Edinburgh given the right to be allocated council housing within the rural West Edinburgh area, which includes Queensferry, Dalmeny, Kirkliston, Newbridge, Ratho and Ratho Station.

The council said that, while the local letting policy was historical and had been in place since 1974, it stated there were potential equality concerns that the current restrictive criteria could prevent fair and equal access to all available housing in the area.

The council added that at their tenant conference in 2010, the view of the majority of attendees was that the policy was contentious and unfair, as Edinburgh based applicants could not access properties in these areas while residents from outlying areas can be considered for any suitable council or EdIndex properties in the Edinburgh area.

Councillor Work said he was concerned by the council’s proposals and fought long and hard to ensure that local people continued to get priority for local housing as rural west Edinburgh was a special case and coupled with the end of the right to buy he can now ensure that council houses are kept for local people.

Applicants looking for a council home, should already live in the area or wish to move, work there, or have close family members (parents, grandparents or siblings) living in these areas whom they provide support to or support from.

lWhile council properties in the rural West Edinburgh area only equate to 2.9 per cent of the council’s housing stock, 23 homes did became available for let over the past year up to March 2011.