Housing plan announced

A shake-up of Aberdeenshire Council’s housing allocation policies have been unveiled.

Members of the council’s Social Work and Housing Committee approved a move away from the current points based system to a banding system.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee Cllr Karen Clark said: “The existing points based allocation policy has been difficult for some applicants to understand and has led to confusion in terms of priority for housing.

“Under the new approach, applications will be assessed and allocated to a priority banding, dependent on their objectively assessed housing need.

“Allocations will be made to each priority banding but will be weighted in favour of the groups with the highest need. This will also assist with the prioritisation of applications and the subsequent allocations to vulnerable groups.”

Changes to the existing policy include additional priority for applicants who currently live within Aberdeenshire, a reduction in the minimum number of areas people have to select from five to one and the introduction of a more flexible size criteria for the allocation of property sizes.

Members of the armed services will also be allocated a local connection priority whether they have an established local connection or not as part of the changes.

Vice Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee Cllr Alison Norrie said: “I would like to thank all those who worked so hard on the new housing allocation policy. It is good to regularly review policies to ensure that they are fit for purpose and address concerns people have.

“While it is impossible to get a policy that will suit every individuals’ personal circumstances I believe we have a more transparent and clearer policy as a result of this review.”

The current housing allocation policy has been in operation since 2007. An extensive consultation took place last year including seeking views from the six Area Committees.