Pat's housing cash snatch challenge

A PENSIONER is to launch a legal challenge against North Somerset Council amid claims it slashed the amount of money allocated to build new affordable housing by £4.5million

A PENSIONER is to launch a legal challenge against North Somerset Council amid claims it slashed the amount of money allocated to build new affordable housing by £4.5million.Angry Pat Bath, of Millers Court, Pill, is planning to call 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.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 reduced that figure back to £8million, agreeing to spend the remaining cash on other projects including repairing the district's crumbling roads.Now Mrs Bath, a grandmother of eight, is challenging the authority's decision, claiming it has reneged on its pledge.She said: "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.Mrs Bath, a former sheltered accommodation warden, said she was taking up the fight for the young people who struggled to afford their own homes.She added: "It is very difficult for young people to get accommodation of their own."My granddaughter has been on the waiting list for three years."Rents in the private sector are between £500 and £700 a month but young people do not earn enough money to afford them."My fight is not about me, it is about protecting our future generations and making sure there is adequate housing provision for them."It is my personal battle but on behalf of everyone who is struggling to have a home of their own."Mrs Bath said her battle had attracted a lot of support from family, friends and neighbours, with some even offering to fund-raise to help her with legal bills.North Somerset Council currently has 5,000 people on its housing waiting list.North Somerset Council deputy leader Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: "We are more than satisfied that what we are doing is correct and above board."We have changed some of the things we want to spend the money on and if we are spending it on repairing roads then that will benefit all of the residents of North Somerset."My understanding is that the guarantee to tenants as part of the handover was that £8 million would be spent on affordable housing.


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