Migrant workers moving to Boston are not keeping local population out of housing - councillors told

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Migrant workers moving to Boston are not keeping people who have lived in the town all of their life out of social housing, councillors have been told.

Boston Borough Council’s scrutiny committee was discussing the Choice Based Letting Scheme, which enables registered applicants to bid for affordable homes which they are interested in and eligible for.

During the discussion last Thursday, committee chairman Coun Paul Gleeson suggested increasing the amount of time someone has to have lived in the district before they could apply from the current 12 month period to four or five years.

However, Deborah Tempest, of Boston Mayflower, told the committee that a change like that ‘would in effect knock 20 people off our housing register’.

She added: “When people move to the area they’re not just coming straight onto the housing register.

“Its just over time when they realise social housing is there and there is another avenue to go down.”

She told councillors that such a change could ‘limit us on the amount of stock we can allocate’ and that currently 22 per cent of Mayflower’s allocations are made to foreign nationals and that properties could remain empty for longer if the number of applicants on the register was significantly reduced.

“We’re not seeing people who grew up in this area joining the list – it’s something we’re working on with the housing team,” she said.

Mr Gleeson commented: “So the perception that local people are being kept out of social hosing has no real data to it.”

He later added: “The point I was trying to make is that it doesn’t match up. It’s an issue that there’s a section 
of people saying local people can’t get good houses, but the evidence is that is not the case.”

He said ‘from what we have heard’ changing the length of required residency in the town ‘would actually make very little difference’.

Representatives for Boston Mayflower said they had agreed in 2014 to increase the organisation’s housing 
stock by 500 by 2019 and had started to build that up 
now.

Councillors also raised questions over how quickly people who found themselves homeless were dealt with, how the housing associations and borough council helped those with mental health issues and their policy on those with a history of anti-social behaviour.