Homes policy review over problem tenants

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First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A SCHEME designed to help provide more housing for younger people has been delayed in Grandpont to prevent an “escalation” of antisocial behaviour.

Blocks of bungalows and flats in Salter Close and Whitehouse Road were due to be made available for people on the housing register under 40 years old.

But Oxford City Council has pushed that back to 2015 after reports of problems with those already living there.

Executive board member for housing, Scott Seamons, said: “There are ongoing tenancy management issues in those blocks with existing tenants.

“The scheme is about opening single-bed properties up to groups which need them most.

“At the moment there is enormous demand from homeless people and the elderly.

“It was decided it might not be the best time to change the make-up of tenants living (in Salter Close and Whitehouse Road) because it may escalate the issues.”

Oxford City Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean confirmed the tenancy management and antisocial behaviour investigation teams were looking into the issue.

The scheme, called “de-designation”, was created to tackle the low numbers of single-bed council homes available to a rising number of people in need of them.

It has removed restrictions on bungalows or flats previously only available to those over 40 years of age.

Those who can benefit must be in “high housing need” and require an adapted or ground-floor property.

No existing tenants in housing blocks affected will be asked to move.

The five-year scheme began in 2010 and is expected to make 777 extra flats available to those under 40 by next year.

So far it has seen five bungalows and 30 flats given to those affected.

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Ms Dean added: “Only a low number of households aged under 40 are likely to be allocated a property.

“And they will be competing with older tenants also in high need, who more frequently have mobility issues.

“Households who will gain are disabled younger applicants with mobility issues who might well benefit from a property with access to an outside area.”

The city council is due to make 68 more properties available under the scheme this year.

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