TO meet the demand for one bedroom accommodation in Powys, office space should be converted into homes a councillor has suggested.
At a meeting of the Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee on Monday, December 11, councillors were given an update on how Powys County Council and its partners are meeting residents social housing needs.
There are 4,007 households in Powys on the common housing register.
The register has been divided into five categories and the report shows that the first three categories are for households that are defined under homeless legal duties as those with the most need.
The report shows that 1,921 households are in the priority band one two or three.
The remaining 2,086 households that are in categories four and five are people who want to move from where they currently live.
Housing communities senior manager Richard Batt said: “The greatest need is for one bedroom.
“About 55 per cent of people require that type of accommodation.”
Mr Batt explained that the problem in Powys is that one bedroom accommodation makes up less than 20 per cent of social housing stock.
Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Gary Mitchell said: “Most people are looking for one bedroom places.
“No-one is using offices as offices anymore.”
He added that “innovative work” is taking place elsewhere to convert officers into smaller accommodation units.
Cllr Mitchell said: “We have some lovely offices at Ladywell House (in Newtown) they could make apartments.
“Are we ambitious enough to look at that when we have our own empty properties – and bring some income into our town centres.”
Deputy council leader and cabinet member for housing, Labour’s Cllr Matthew Dorrance said: “We’re up for looking at that.
“We’re really determined to increase the number of units to meet demand – but the numbers have to stack up and ensure that it’s best value.”
Cllr Dorrance told the committee that the department had been looking at council properties to take over, but so far no “viable option” had been found.
If they could find council assets to fit the bill and provide more units for housing Cllr Dorrance said they would “proceed.”
Committee chairwoman, Liberal Democrat Cllr Angela Davies said: “We are reassured that an awful lot of work is going on in the housing department to support our most vulnerable residents.”
“And I am reassured that finance and value is also being taken into account while I’m sure you could do a lot more with more money the council is facing challenging times.”