Council moved some Northants residents to temporary accommodation more than 100 miles away

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Both of Northamptonshire's councils are housing hundreds of people

Some Northamptonshire residents were moved more than 100 miles away as councils battled a nationwide housing crisis.

Both of the county’s unitary councils are paying for temporary accommodation for hundreds of people, some within and outside their respective areas.

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North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) said it moved some residents to Brighton and Hove in Sussex since it was formed in 2021. An NNC spokesperson said cutting the number of people placed outside its area “is a priority”. It has not moved people outside North Northamptonshire since last November.

Some residents were moved more than 100 milesSome residents were moved more than 100 miles
Some residents were moved more than 100 miles

They said moving people outside of its area could be down to “various factors, including a lack of supply” of housing as demand grows. About 760 households are being temporarily housed by NNC and West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) for a variety of reasons, including homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or residents struggling with addiction.

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Most of them are WNC’s responsibility. It is currently accommodating 560 households, with 18 of those being placed outside its boundaries. NNC had 200 households in temporary accommodation in December. Earlier this year, the charity Shelter said at least 1,300 people were homeless in the county on any given night in 2022 and that it is “bracing” itself for a spike this year.

A freedom of information (FOI) request showed NNC has moved people to 17 places outside North Northamptonshire since its formation. Most of them are relatively close, including Northampton. It also moved people to Market Harborough, Hinckley and Leicester in Leicestershire and Bedford, Dunstable and Luton in Bedfordshire. It also paid for a person or people to stay in Letchworth in Hertfordshire.

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It has also accommodated people across North Northamptonshire, including in Corby, Weldon, Kettering, Rothwell, Wellingborough, Rushden, Thrapston and Oundle.

Another FOI request to WNC showed most locations used to house residents were within its area, including Northampton, Brackley and Towcester. Some people were moved into North Northamptonshire, including to Corby and Wellingborough. Others were moved to Coventry, Rugby and Milton Keynes.

The NNC spokesperson said moving someone outside North Northamptonshire is “more likely in periods of increased demand” and that the authority tries to move them back into the area “as soon as possible”.

“Other reasons include when a household has requested to move to another area due to family connections or support for medical reasons or there is a risk of harm for a household if they remain in the area,” they said.

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“We always try to offer in-area temporary accommodation, unless there are exceptional circumstances, or the household wishes to be placed elsewhere. In the latter instance, we would work with the household to support them to approach another authority in the area they wish to be placed.”

Cllr Adam Brown, WNC’s cabinet member for housing, culture and leisure and deputy leader, said: “It is difficult to predict requirements for temporary accommodation and, given the pressure on social housing, it would be impractical for us to keep many homes empty in case they are needed.

“We’ve recently increased the amount of our housing stock available for temporary accommodation by 20 per cent but demand has also increased significantly over the past 18 months. We currently cover around a quarter of our requirement through council-owned stock.”