Stopping the influx

An artist's impressionof the redevelopment of Blackpool's Queens Park.

An artist's impressionof the redevelopment of Blackpool's Queens Park.

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TOUGH new housing rules are set to end the influx of deprived families pouring into Blackpool.

In future, people must have lived in the resort at least three years continuously in order to qualify for social housing. It is hoped the restrictions will send a strong message out - Blackpool is closed’.

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Gillian Campbell

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Gillian Campbell

The move follows a pledge by Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn in his open letter to residents last month to tackle the issue of migrants from other towns and cities who put a strain on social housing and services.

Consultation is being launched on the proposed changes to the joint housing allocation policies of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils.

It is also proposed to take a tougher stance against troublesome tenants by banning people from the housing waiting lists for a year.

Meanwhile current or former members of the armed forces will see their priority increased. Households with a gross income of £60,000 or more, or savings of over £30,000 would be excluded from the list.

Only the homeless are exempt from the proposed changes.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing in Blackpool, said: “In the past people have been able to come to the area with no connection and within a few months join our housing waiting list along with people who have lived here all their lives.

“We do not have the resources to sort out everyone’s problems no matter where they come from, we need to concentrate on our local residents and make a difference to their lives.”

She added: “We want to be clear if anyone has committed anti-social behaviour, whatever kind of housing they live in now, they will be suspended from the waiting list for affordable housing for at least a year.”

Gwen King, chairman of the Queens Park Residents Association, added: “It is time for Blackpool Council not to be sorting out other local authorities’ problems, but to start putting our own town and our own residents first.

“We know there are many local families desperate for homes which is why Queens Park is being redeveloped in order to provide more family housing.”

The consultation, available on the websites of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils, finishes on January 21.

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