Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2005

Asylum homes on general release

Homes originally reserved for asylum seekers, that have lain empty for the last few months, are to be used to house local people in Derby.

The 98 properties in the Derwent area will be made available to families needing homes. There are 10,000 people are on the council's waiting list.

The houses were boarded up after the number of asylum seekers being housed in the city was reduced.

People will be able to move in once the houses have been checked over in March.

It was a foolhardy exercise in the first place
Philip Hickson, Derby City Council

The houses were leased out to a housing association through the National Asylum Support Service and negotiations.

Derby City Council had to reclaim them even though they were empty.

Councillor Philip Hickson, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said: "Some of them were in what were called 'difficult to let areas'.

"The number of people waiting for houses has risen sharply, probably a reflection of the very steep rise in house prices.

'Foolhardy exercise'

"People are unable to get on the property ladder and 'difficult-to-let' areas have vanished as far as Derby is concerned.

"We can let every single house that we've got available - so the sooner we get them back the better.

"It was a foolhardy exercise in the first place, we should never have entered into a contract to provide asylum seeker housing whilst we'd got large numbers of people on the housing list.

"They were good intentions at the time, but not practical and certainly not in the best interests of the people in the city."

SEE ALSO
House waiting lists under attack
14 Feb 05 |  Derbyshire

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