Falkirk Council: Criticism of how council houses are allocated

A mum-of-five forced to flee her home due to anti-social behaviour and threats to her family has criticised Falkirk Council's housing allocation policy.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 5:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 7:23 pm

Lynsay Liddle, 35, had been in a four-bed terraced house in Lumley Street, Grangemouth for around five years.

However, issues with neighbours and their anti-social behaviour forced her to make her family homeless to escape what she called their “abuse”, along with attacks on her property.

She was eventually given temporary accommodation by Falkirk Council but it is in a three-bed flat in the Falkirk area which she says is not suitable for her family.

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A mum-of-five has criticised Falkirk Council's housing allocation policy. Generic pic.

Lynsay recently married husband Chris Wilson, 28, and the couple live in the flat with the children, four sons aged 17, 12, seven and one year-old, and an eight-year-old daughter.

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But she is unhappy that the council’s housing services say she must bid through the housing allocation system for a five-bed property when she considers her application to be exceptional circumstances, as her family were at risk in the previous home.

She has been told that she came second after bidding for a property last month that would have suited her family’s needs.

Lynsay said: “We couldn’t remain in the Grangemouth house. There were too many incidents including having our tyres slashed and threats made to my 17-year-od son. We reported them all to the police and the council.

"We were eventually given this flat as temporary accommodation but it’s really not suitable.

"We found three needles on the floor where my baby had been crawling moments before.

"The council sent out two workers to take the needles away but they didn’t have any equipment to deal with them. My husband had to pick them up with pliers and put them into an empty plastic bottle.”

She added: “On the council’s website it clearly states that they can remove a property from bidding to satisfy statutory duties or emergency situations. Surely we are an emergency situation and if we aren't classed as an emergency, what is?”

An official from the allocations team admitted that “Falkirk Council has a limited stock of 483 four bedroom properties and 16 five bedroom properties and at present has 583 applicants who are looking for a four or more bedroomed property”.

They added that the council does not use larger four or more bedroom family homes as temporary accommodation as these properties are highly sought after from large families.

A spokesperson for Falkirk Council said: “We acknowledge that Ms Liddle and her family have faced a number of difficult issues at her previous location and as a result, we provided temporary homeless accommodation.

“Her application was processed according to our allocations policy and ‘exceptional need’ can only be considered in really exceptional circumstances when an applicant’s needs cannot be met via the allocations policy.

“We have looked at Ms Liddle’s case relative to other families experiencing difficulties. Given the relatively small number of larger properties available, we have to balance the needs of others who may be facing more extreme situations.

“In Homespot we can remove properties advertised in emergency situations e.g. current tenancy uninhabitable due to fire and flood.

“We appreciate the stress and concerns the family have and we will continue to support her wherever possible in finding a new property.”