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A home for life: Wigan Council plans would see tenants stay in their homes for good
Friday 16th November, 2012

Thousands of social housing tenants will still be offered “a home for life” under plans being put forward by Wigan Council.

Those people looking to be housed in the borough are currently given a lifetime tenancy – once their application for a home has been accepted.

However, the government, seeking to address the national housing shortfall, has asked all local authorities to consider if housing needs would be better met by offering shorter, more flexible options to tenants.

The idea has been rejected by Wigan Council who believe flexible tenancies would only be beneficial in limited cases in the borough. Therefore, the council is proposing to continue offering lifetime tenancies to all social housing tenants. This is deemed the best way of dealing with local housing needs.

Wigan Council currently has more than 22,000 homes on its books. Although demand for social housing is high, the borough does not have the shortage of homes seen in other local authority areas. It’s hoped offering lifetime tenancies will encourage tenants to take pride in their homes and neighbourhoods and create more settled communities.

Councillors will be asked to approve the plans at a meeting of the Confident Places Scrutiny Committee on Monday 19th November and at a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday 22nd of November. The plans are a result of the Localism Act 2011, which instructed councils to produce a tenancy strategy.

Cllr Chris Ready, Wigan Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for housing, says: “We have decided, after a thorough examination as requested by the government, that we will continue to offer people the chance of a home for life. This will give tenants peace of mind and security. They will be able to take pride and invest in their homes and feel a proper part of their communities.

“Social housing plays an important role in supporting people at a time of need and improving people’s life chances. We believe the best thing for housing in Wigan Borough is to stick with the system we have.

“Some 235 new affordable homes have been built in the borough over the last two years with the council and Wigan and Leigh Homes being responsible for nearly a hundred of these. Additionally, approximately a further 150 are in development including 72 council homes. We have an in balance in our housing stock compared to demand. These changes will allow us to focus our resources more effectively.”

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