Aid for housing cash challenge

A PENSIONER launching a legal challenge against North Somerset Council over claims it slashed the amount of money allocated to build new affordable housing by four and a half million, has been awarded legal aid to fight her case. Pat Bath, of Millers Cour

A PENSIONER launching a legal challenge against North Somerset Council over claims it slashed the amount of money allocated to build new affordable housing by four and a half million, has been awarded legal aid to fight her case.Pat Bath, of Millers Court, Pill, is calling for a judicial review following a decision by the authority to reduce the amount allocated to spend on affordable housing from £12.5million to £8million.This week Mrs Bath, who is being represented by Bristol-based law firm South West Law, learnt her application for legal aid had been successful.It is understood the legal papers calling for the review will be handed to the authority this week.Mrs Bath, a grandmother of eight, said: "I am delighted at the news I have been granted legal aid."It is a real step forward and hopefully now the courts will force the council to put the money it initially promised as part of the transfer, back into providing affordable housing."Initially as part of the sell-off of the authority's homes to North Somerset Housing in 2005, the former Liberal Democrat/Labour run administration had agreed to earmark £8million for new affordable housing.But when the sale went through, raising £22million, the authority agreed to plough a further £4.5million into new homes.Following the elections, the new Conservative administration red-uced that figure back to £8million, agreeing to spend the remaining cash on other projects including repairing the district's crumbling roads.Mrs Bath said she was taking up the fight on behalf of people who struggled to afford a home of their own.The former sheltered accommodation warden claimed: "North Somerset Council made a promise to its tenants when it transferred its housing stock and it has broken those promises."The tenants who voted on this transfer have been misled and I want to see that £4.5million put back into housing."My fight is not about me, it is about protecting our future generations and making sure there is adequate housing provision for them."North Somerset Council, which currently has 5,000 people on its housing waiting list, denied any wrongdoing and said £8million would still be spent on affordable housing in the district.


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