In a surprise move, a local authority has suspended a consultation process into a proposed selective licensing scheme following criticisms.
The leader of West Lindsey council, Owen Bierley, has issued a statement saying: “Following a full council meeting … councillors voted in favour of halting the selective licensing consultation at this time, to allow for further considerations to be made into both the scheme and the consultation.
“We are extremely grateful for all those who have submitted feedback into the consultation process up until this point and we will of course communicate and advise on next steps for any future proposal in due course.”
He says the next steps will not be considered until a committee meeting in early May.
The 12-week online consultation began in January and was little over half way through - it was due to close in the second half of April.
The decision to suspend it came following criticism by local landlords and a new report to the council which included the statement: “The selective licensing scheme can improve the quality of accommodation however, it has had limited success in many other areas such as anti-social behaviour, community safety and crime levels. It is therefore essential before we extend the selective licensing scheme we gain a far better understanding of how many of these other issues can be addressed.”
A previous licensing scheme introduced by the council was restricted to a small part of one ward considered to have high levels of anti-social behaviour and poor property conditions, but the authority had wanted as recently as January to expand the licensing area.
In the New Year a council spokesman said: “We are doing everything possible to make sure that private renting offers the highest possible standards of security, safety and quality. Our previous Selective Licensing scheme addressed more than 4,000 hazards in homes…but there is still more to do. We are now looking to take this further with proposals for new Selective Licensing schemes covering a larger area of the district.
“If you own a private rented home, are renting in private rented accommodation, or live near a private rented home, I encourage you to review our proposals and see what we’re doing to improve your local community.”
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