A lack of affordable homes and the effectiveness of the rural allocations policy were the main concerns as councillors discussed housing.
At the July meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council, members and residents heard from Philippa Storey, from Northumberland County Council, on the Homefinder system.
Used to allocate social housing in the county, Ms Storey gave a comprehensive overview of how it works.
One of the issues is that the north Northumberland coast has a shortage of affordable housing. Since January, just six properties have become available in Seahouses.
Coun Geoff Martindale, chairman of Beadnell Parish Council, was at the meeting and said that the development at Kennedy Green in his village was very successful, but was still oversubscribed.
The other concern raised was how the rural allocations policy works. In smaller, more rural parishes, people with a local connection are given priority over those that don’t.
However, it doesn’t apply to band-three applicants (see right) and one member of the public at the meeting said she had given up applying as she didn’t get anywhere.
County Coun John Woodman said this issue was being looked at by the council.
Northumberland Homefinder is a partnership between the county council and housing providers. People must apply to join the housing register and then properties are advertised each week on which you can bid. The decision is then based on eligibility for the property advertised, coupled with priority.
Preference bands: Band P for those with an urgent and severe housing need (eg. homeless); Band 1 – high housing need (eg. severe overcrowdedness); Band 2 – medium housing need (eg. sharing facilities); Band 2R – reduced priority (eg. no connection to county); Band 3 – adequately housed.