PROPERTIES are being released as part of the savings programme by Dorset Council.

Princes House in Dorchester and Allenview House in Wimborne were named at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The former had been used by the shadow Dorset Council as an administrative headquarters and prior to that by social services. The Wimborne site was used by East Dorset District Council.

The meeting also heard that steps were being taken to deal with a growth in homeless families and individuals with an, undisclosed, council-owned property in the Purbecks to be used as a hostel, mainly for people from the east of the county.

Talks are also being held with three major housing associations for them to release properties to those declared homeless during the pandemic lockdown, with the inevitable consequence of pushing up the waiting list for the general need housing waiting list.

Private landlords are also being asked by the council to lease their properties to the authority so the council, in turn, can use them for homeless people.

Government funding is being applied for to pay for some of the housing measures.

Finance brief holder Cllr Tony Ferrari said the council was investigating curtailing its planned capital (building) programme for this financial year and the next but said that, for the moment, the authority was not planning ‘precipitous’ action and would be addressing its finance through normal business processes.

He has previously ruled out an emergency budget when asked if one was possible, although admitted that next year’s budget would be very different from the one originally planned.

The meeting also heard that a review of the council’s people strategy was due during July to see if changes needed to be made in the authority’s structure post-Covid.