Council housing allocation policy

I'm worried.

The Council is currently consulting on changing many aspects of its housing allocation policies but is trying to fast track some changes (see the full report here).

The proposals that worry me are

1. to reduce the number of reasonable offer from 2 to 1 and reduce the suspension period for refusal of a reasonable offer from 12 months to 6 months.

2. combine the existing letting areas (basically settlements) into larger units and ask people to select at least 2 of these bigger units rather than 5 settlements.

In Formartine, people would then be required to select 2 from:

Fyvie/Auchterless/Rothienorman/Meikle Wartle
Oldmeldrum/Barravale/Pitmedden/Tarves/Udny Green/Udny Station

Any 2 of those 5 would cover a big area.  If people have places of work, family and friends who provide essential social support (taking care of the kids after school, etc), maybe it is simply not possible to live in Methlick rather than Potterton (16.5 miles away) : and the definition of reasonable is based on the housing need not wider social needs.

Council officers told us that the average number of people who are offered a council house before accepting it is 2.4 - or to put it another way, there is a 60% chance of someone turning down a house that is offered to them.  Locally we were told that the reason is rarely the quality of the house - so it must be location.  We are under pressure to let houses faster and reduce the housing waiting list.  But forcing people to select a large area and then saying "take it or suspend you from the waiting list for 6 months" doesn't seen to me to be very helpful.

People understand that if they pick a very small high demand area, they will wait a long time.  But surely that is their look out.  Offering people houses that they are even less likely to take because it is in a location they don't want, doesn't seem helpful to me.

Wouldn't we be better to tell people how many houses there are in each area and, if possible, the turnover?  The people who can be flexible will get a better chance of a house.   But if the need is specific, then that is just the way it is.  Offering houses in the wrong place will help no-one - except perhaps a statistician, looking to reduce the length of the waiting list.

I'd like to hear your views on this.

Offshore Wind Consultation

The public are invited to view detailed plans for the offshore wind project in Aberdeen Bay

Vattenfall, Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), the joint
venture (JV) partners behind the 11-wind turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay – have announced dates for forthcoming public consultation events.

David Hodkinson, UK Country Manager of Vattenfall, said: “The public
information events for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre are an
important part of the formal consultation and decision making process and
they follow on from our recent submission of a consent application to
Marine Scotland. We believe we have made a strong case for the
environmental and economic benefits of the EOWDC. I would like to
encourage people to make their own judgment after viewing the information
that we will present at the events and speaking to members of the project

Consultation events take place as follows:-

29th August Peterhead, Palace Hotel 2-8pm
30th August Newburgh, Udny Arms 2-8pm
31st August Ellon, Kirk Centre 2-8pm
1st September Balmedie, Whitehorse Inn 2-8pm
2nd September Aberdeen, Doubletree Hilton (Beach) 2-8pm

EOWDC submitted an application for consent on 1 August, 2011 and the formal
consultation process ends on 16th September 2011. Any representations to
the application should be made to The Scottish Government, Marine Scotland
Licensing Operations Team no later than this date.

To find out more, please visit