Residents are asked for views on council housing policies

Sue Rogers, HDC cabinet member for a safer and healthier district and Trevor Beadle, HDC head of housing and community services
Sue Rogers, HDC cabinet member for a safer and healthier district and Trevor Beadle, HDC head of housing and community services

The majority of people in the Horsham district believe social rented housing should be for low income, working households who already live locally or have a local connection.

That was the feeling of 604 people who responded to the first stage of a Horsham District Council consultation looking into who should be housed through the council.

There are about 200 houses becoming available every year for social renting, but currently there are more than 1,200 people on the Housing Register, most of whom will never get a place.

HDC housing needs manager Karen Spencer said: “The strength of feeling in favour of low income, local working households was over-whelming with agreement between social tenants, private tenants and owner occupiers.”

Some 522 (84.9 per cent) respondents said that social housing should only be for people currently living within the district. There were 367 people (59.7 per cent) who said it should also be for people living outside the district with a local connection through family or employment.

Sue Rogers cabinet member for a healthier and safer district, whose portfolio this falls into, said: “I am thrilled there are a lot of people who want to move to the district, but we have to look after local people.”

If brought into council policy this ethos would be a departure from the current rules set down nationally meaning that anyone can place themselves on any council housing register regardless of their circumstances.

Officers have drawn up draft documents covering the prevention of homelessness, who social housing should be allocated to and tenancy strategies for the Horsham district.

Housing needs manager Karen Spencer said: “By limiting the number of people on the register, it helps us concentrate on prevention of homelessness rather than cure.

“The Localism Act has enabled us to this and we have to take advantage of it.”

The second stage of the consultation has been running since November and people have until January 1, 2013 to comment. The documents are available to view on the council’s website

Comments should be sent to Andrew Smith, housing strategy and development manager, Horsham District Council, Park North, North Street, Horsham, RH12 1RL or email

Once all responses have been considered, officers will present final policy documents to HDC cabinet in its January meeting and subject to discussion, they are expected to be adopted in April 2013.