WHEN Adam Moody and his young family decided they wanted to move to Embleton, they were told they weren’t ‘local enough’ to qualify for social housing – even though he was born and raised there.
And not only that, but he was judged at the time to be living ‘outside the area’– in Belford, 15 miles away. But dad-of-two Adam needed to make the move, not only to better accommodate his loved ones, but to be closer to the post office and village shop he runs in the coastal community.
In the end, he was left with no other option but to buy a modest three-bedroomed property at Grayfield Estate, but only after drawing heavily on his business to find enough money for the deposit.
“We were in a classic Catch-22 situation,” said Adam, who is married to Beth and has children aged five and seven. “We were paying a huge amount in rent, which meant we couldn’t save for a deposit. Buying a house was totally out of the question.
“We applied for social housing in Embleton but I was told that I was not ‘local’, even though I was born and bred in that village.
“We also tried for a council house, but no one would accept that we were experiencing financial hardship. The council said we would be listed in Band 3, the lowest priority.
“In the end, we found a private let in the Embleton area for £500 a month, which is £200 more than the average council rent. It had no central heating or double-glazing. Then this house came up on the market, so I asked the bank what kind of mortgage I could apply for, being self-employed. To try to get a deposit together, I had to drain the business.
“If anything goes wrong now, it could mean the end of the shop.”
Adam’s county councillor, John Taylor, said: “There is an immense demand for social housing in north Northumberland, particularly along the coastal strip because of the impact of second homes and holiday lets. The county council is looking to release land under the new Localism Bill for new social housing. Some of it will go to housing associations, some of it for parish councils to develop, but it all depends on capital investment. The will is there, but it comes down to finance.
“This problem is as big as it was in the 1950s before the Macmillan government began its council housing programme.”