Woking Borough Council
Civic OfficesGloucester SquareWokingSurreyGU21 6YL
Telephone: 01483 755855
27 September 2013
Please note: these pages contain archived information. Whilst the details were correct when first published, they may since have 'aged' and some of the information could be out-of-date.
A new Housing Allocations Policy that will see a fairer system for the allocation of Council housing for all is to be introduced by Woking Borough Council from Monday 4 November 2013, following guidance from Central Government.
Last year, boroughs and districts across the country were given the opportunity to review their allocations schemes and make changes to better manage their housing registers and tailor their allocations processes to meet local needs and circumstances.
Woking Borough Council approved its new Housing Allocations Policy following a decision by Members at the full Council meeting held on Thursday 27 June 2013.
From Monday 4 November 2013, key changes to the Council's existing Housing Allocations Policy will see:
Band F, the lowest priority band, removed from the Housing Register.
Applicants must have a local connection of at least 12 months to the Borough when applying, unless leaving the Armed Forces.
Applicants accepted for sheltered or supported housing will no longer be placed into Band C.
Applicants leaving specialist supported housing will no longer be placed into Band C.
Applicants with a joint household gross income of more than £50,000 (£30,000 per annum for single applicants) or with savings and/or assets of £30,000 or more (excluding pension pots) will not be able to register for housing.
Applicants with a child under 12 months old will be eligible for a one or two bedroom property.
Households with dependents of the same sex must be 18 years old before they are eligible for a separate bedroom.
These changes have been introduced following a full consultation with all applicants on the Housing Register, stakeholders and partners in December 2012.
Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "There are currently over 2,000 people on our Housing Register, with around 100 new applications each month. Although we are looking at ways of increasing our housing stock through proposed developments in Westfield and Sheerwater, we simply do not have enough social housing to meet demand now and in the future.
"By listening to the views of applicants and stakeholders through the consultation process, we have ensured that our new policy reflects both local housing priorities and changes in legislation. It will mean that not only will we prioritise the most vulnerable in housing need, but also reward those who have a local connection or are from the Armed Forces.
"Changes to any policy will naturally have an affect to some degree on our service users, however, we remain fully committed to housing the homeless and the most vulnerable within our community."
To enable Council staff to begin the transition to the new Policy, the Council will suspend the registration of new Hometrak applications and the issuing of new application forms to the public from 25 September 2013 until the new Policy is introduced. Instead, applicants will receive an acknowledgement letter informing them that their application is on hold. All emergency housing applications will be dealt with as a priority.
During this period, all outstanding Hometrak applications will be processed.
The Hometrak bidding cycle will continue as usual until Tuesday 22 October 2013, when there will be a two week suspension of the process. A new Hometrak list will be published on Tuesday 5 November, when applications will be dealt with in accordance with the new Housing Allocations Policy.
For further information about the changes to the Housing Allocations Policy, or if you require any advice or assistance, please contact the Housing Options Team on 01483 755855.
What is Hometrak?
Woking's Housing Allocations Scheme, also known as Hometrak, sets out the criteria which allows the Council to place all people on its Housing Register in priority order. It helps to ensure that all available housing is allocated to those people who are most in need and outlines the operational terms of Hometrak, the choice based lettings scheme which allows people on the Housing Register to bid for properties which best meet their personal circumstances.
Housing Allocations Policy consultation
During December 2012, Woking Borough Council consulted with all applicants on the Housing Register, stakeholders and partners their proposed changes to the existing Housing Allocations Policy. A report was produced and the key points raised are outlined below.
There were 358 responses of which 300 were from those on the Housing Register; 78% of respondents were aged 25-64 with 42% male and 58% female.
Housing should be allocated to the most deserving and that it was reasonable to assist applicants who were making a contribution to the community.
Local connection was considered to be sensible although residency was considered more important than employment but 68% agreed that applicants with an employment connection should qualify for the Housing Register. 71% of respondents agreed that applicants with a local connection through close family should qualify for the Housing Register.
67% of respondents agreed that Band F should be removed with 89% agreeing that homeowners should not be allowed to register for housing.
70% of respondents agreed with the changes to Band C.
88% agreed with the limits on household income, savings and assets.
Giving priority to those in the Armed Forces was supported by 68% of respondents, although only 48% supported the proposal to give priority to applicants who had been approved to adopt.