People without connections to Aylesbury Vale will no longer be able to apply for social housing in the district under new rules agreed this week.
Councillors voted to adopt the new housing allocations policy at an Aylesbury Vale District Council full council meeting yesterday.
With around 4,500 people currently on the district’s housing waiting list, the council says the new policy aims to ensure that allocations can be better managed given the shortage of social housing available.
A change to the local connection rule means that applicants must have lived or worked in Aylesbury Vale for the past two years to be accepted onto the housing register.
Older people who need to move into the area to receive care and support and applicants who are homeless will not be affected.
In the past, housing has been allocated across the whole of the Vale, so that people living in the north of the district would be deemed to have the same level of local connection as people in the southern area.
The council has now agreed to divide the district into four sub-groups for housing allocation – Greater Aylesbury, North, South West and South East.
For 50 per cent of new-build properties in each sub-group first preference will go to applicants with a connection to the local sub-group area. And local applicants will be given first preference in 25 per cent of re-let properties.
The council has to review its allocations policy regularly and the changes reflect the Localism Act 2011 which allows councils to shape their housing policy to take account of local needs.
Councillor Pam Pearce, cabinet member for community matters, said: “The reality is that housing is scarce everywhere, not just in Aylesbury Vale, and we simply can’t house everyone straight away.
“So we’re using the tools the government has given us, but implementing them in a responsible way.
“We think this policy is a fairer way of allocating social housing in the Vale.
“The ultimate aim is to foster strong communities, where people get along well together, thrive and prosper.”
The policy changes were agreed after the council asked people for their views with results revealing broad public support to implement the changes.
It is likely the changes will come into effect from May next year.