Mansfield District Council and Ashfield District Council announce house sharing plans

ASHFIELD and Mansfield district councils are planning to share their council house stocks in the most high-profile collaboration yet between the two authorities.

The pair will launch the joint ‘Ashfield and Mansfield Homefinder’ in January, allowing people to apply for homes in either district.

Offering an online estate agent-style service, it will allow prospective tenants to ‘bid’ for council houses across both districts, regardless of which they live in.

The plan will replace Ashfield District Council’s existing points-based lettings scheme and Mansfield District Council’s current Moveahead scheme.

“Working together in partnership will achieve a more efficient service which is more effective, easier to access and will give a greater choice,” said Bill Buckley, interim head of health and housing at Ashfield District Council.

Both councils have begun to look at sharing services to improve efficiency and save money in a climate of frozen or shrinking Government funding.

Mansfied and Ashfield officers are already working on a new joint economic master plan for the area, and are planning to work together on several other projects.

Added Mick Colley, Mansfield District Council’s portfolio holder for housing: “This promises to be more efficient, more flexible and offer more choice.”

Both councils will carry on maintaining their own stocks, with Ashfield’s still run by Ashfield Homes.

All people currently listed on both councils’ housing registers will receive a letter asking them to re-register their details with the new scheme, either online at www.amhomefinder.co.uk or by completing a housing application form.

All available properties across both districts will be advertised weekly on the online property shop, in the councils’ housing offices, and through a weekly magazine.

Applicants will be able to bid for up to two properties each week through the website or via a 24 hour automated phone line.