People waiting for a social home in Northampton could be given the first refusal on more than 1,700 affordable properties due to be built on the edge of town following an agreement between a trio of councils.
Over the next 12 years up to 1,770 new housing association homes are due to be built in a series of "urban extensions" planned for the outskirts of Northampton.
Many of the major builds, including a 1,000-house development at Collingtree, have proved controversial for falling just outside of Northampton Borough Council boundaries.
But the authority has now brokered a deal with Daventry District Council and South Northamptonshire Council that it hopes will reduce its growing waiting list for social housing.
Under the scheme, applicants on Northampton’s housing register will be prioritised one of the 1,770 new affordable homes - providing they can prove they hav a local connection to the area.
Councillor Stephen Hibbert, the cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “We’re really pleased that cabinet approved the changes to the housing allocations scheme.
"Once the changes are in place, applicants on Northampton’s housing register will be prioritised for affordable rented homes being built in the urban extensions.”
The changes to the council allocations policy were ratified at the council's cabinet meeting last night.
But shadow cabinet member for housing, Councillor Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands) said: "While this is a good idea in principle, the reality is that it won’t make much of a difference.
"We struggle to get houses for those on our own housing register never mind anybody else. I envisage there maybe a few cases at best with people from Northampton getting houses in the urban extensions.
"Due to the out-of-date borough boundaries some of the SUEs should be within Northampton not South Northants or Daventry. I have long believed that Northampton’s boundary should be extended by one parish.”