PARISH councils in Dorset are unlikely to be given a direct say in social housing allocations.

West Dorset councillor Tony Alford claims that if they were allowed a greater say it might encourage more house building in rural areas where there is a need.

Cllr Alford (Eggardon ward,Con) said that by allowing parish councils a voice in who was allocated a new social housing property within the parish it might encourage them to support new suitable housing schemes in their areas.

He was also critical at a committee meeting on Tuesday of planning policy which he said did little to encourage the building of suitable homes in villages, often where a need for smaller family homes had been recognised by residents in their neighbourhood plan, yet what they were often offered by developers was larger homes out of the financial reach of young local families.

But housing brief holder Graham Carr-Jones said the idea of giving parishes allocation rights was unlikely to work. He said he would not favour the approach which he said could lead to the loss of the ability to move people where properties were available.

Another problem with meeting local housing need was highlighted by Cllr Andrew Kerby who said more need to be done to encourage people in larger social housing properties to move on. He said many were older people who were reluctant to leave after spending a life-time, often raising a family, in one house.

“How do we incentivise people to move on,?” he said.

Cllr Carr-Jones admitted that it was a challenge which some housing associations had tried to tackle by offering financial incentives to encourage people to move, such as meeting removal costs, although that had often failed.

He said the real answer was to provide homes people wanted, ideally flats or bungalows by the seaside, a solution which he said had worked in Purbeck with smaller home for older people provided in Swanage.

“It is a problem, a lot of people don’t want to move, especially as they get older and you can understand that,” said Cllr Carr-Jones.