12:39PM, Friday 12 November 2021
A councillor has questioned the 'reality' of a ten-year waiting list for affordable two/three-bedroom homes after the daunting figure was presented to councillors at a town forum.
A meeting of the Maidenhead Town Forum on Thursday evening heard from Lorna Collison, community engagement officer for Housing Solutions, who detailed the role of the company in the Royal Borough.
After a presentation detailing the company’s activities, Ms Collison was questioned by councillors on housing in the area.
Cllr Greg Jones (Con, Riverside) asked: “What sort of waiting list is there for social housing?”
Ms Collision replied by saying the waiting list was ‘huge’.
She added: “All of our homes are full at the moment in Housing Solutions.
“A band C or D - which is most people would fall into - for a two or three-bedroom property you could be looking at around ten years.
“The priority are homeless or medical moves that are being focused on, so it’s a very long wait for anybody else.”
Ms Collison added that social housing providers share a ‘common waiting list’ which is managed by RBWM, clarifying the ten-year wait was Borough-wide.
Later in the meeting, Cllr Jon Davey (Clewer and Dedworth West, WWRA) asked: “The ten years’ [waiting list] sounds very scary, but what is the reality of that number?
“How long does the resident stay in the property, I guess is the question, because that determines when somebody else can get in?”
In response, Ms Collison said the length of stay – and subsequent waiting times – ‘very much depended’ on the how priorities changed over time.
“Peoples’ priorities will change as time goes on,” she said. “Say if you had a couple in a one-bed flat, looking to move a two-bed flat, that would be very unlikely [to affect their position in the queue].
“But say if they had children, there would then be overcrowding and that would push them up the waiting list.
“So, it does very much depend on how your circumstances change over time and also what else is happening within the housing stock.”
She added other factors, such as mutual exchanges as well as ‘bidding’ on properties, also impacted wait times.
“That figure [of ten years’ wait] is really looking at someone who is already seen to be adequately housed and wants to move into a different area or number of bedrooms,” said Ms Collison.