Stricter rules target council house waiting list in Norwich and south Norfolk

Tourists are clogging up the queue for council homes by applying for houses in the hope they may move to Norfolk.

Norwich and South Norfolk councils launched a plan in April to slash the length of their register for social housing.

Research by consultants KPMG showed about 70pc of applicants in south Norfolk had little or no need for council homes, while just over half of the 4,000 applicants on the register, including one applicant who registered in 1968, had never bid for a council home.

Norwich City Council, which has 6,919 households on its register, said it came across people on the list who lived elsewhere in the country, such as Glasgow, and had visited Norfolk and decided they would rather live in Norwich than in Scotland so applied for a home.

From April 2, rules were tightened meaning people on the register needed a Norwich connection and must apply on the phone or in person.

Council leader Brenda Arthur said: 'This is not about cutting our waiting list but making sure people understand the options available at the outset and that we are focusing our resources on those in need.'

South Norfolk Council, which has 4,188 households on its register, introduced similar rules, including replacing an online application form, which 80pc of applicants filled out incorrectly, with an interview by council staff.

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Applications now have to be done over the phone or by visiting the council's offices, while households who find a home are barred from the register for a year.

Council leader John Fuller said the changes would give priority to those in the greatest need.

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