Lack of council housing in Leyburn means a long waiting list for families wanting to remain there

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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

A LACK of council housing in a Dales market town means that residents who are looking to live in the town are faced with either a long wait or a move ten miles to an area with greater housing stock.

One young family, currently living in a bedsit above a pub in Leyburn, want to remain in the town but despite being a top-priority case have been unable to successfully bid on a house.

Melissa Cox, 21, from Leyburn, said she, her partner Andrew Wise and 13-month-old son Lewis will soon be homeless because the flat in the Golden Lion Hotel they are living in is a short-term arrangement.

Ms Cox, who works at Leyburn Co-op but does not drive, said she has tried to bid for three-bed homes in the town but was told she would not be allocated a house with more than two bedrooms because she only has one child.

Richmondshire District Council said there are just 88 council homes available in the town, and of those just 24 three bedroom homes, five two-bed flats, and 29 two bedroom bungalows – with the rest being just one-bed accommodation.

In contrast, ten miles away in Colburn, there are 415 council properties with 183 three bedroom houses and 60 two bedroom homes.

But Ms Cox said she does not think she has been treated fairly.

“Since being told I could not bid for a three bedroom house in Leyburn, the council has allocated two of my friends a three-bed home – but they were not on gold band,” she said.

Ms Cox is on the gold band of the Choice-Based Letting scheme with Richmondshire District Council, which allows council house seekers to bid on properties each week.

Ms Cox said she had been given the option of bidding for three-bed houses in Scarborough or taking temporary accommodation in Colburn – but both these options would mean she would lose her job.

Colin Dales, Richmondshire District Council’s director of housing said: “There are very few two-bed houses in Leyburn and three-beds do not come up very often.

“The family Ms Cox mentioned getting a three-bed home before her in Leyburn had more children, and the other family was in Middleham.

“We understand that people need to live near to where they work and get frustrated but we are doing all we can to help Ms Cox.”

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