Restrictions dictating the age of people living in council houses in Reading have been removed.

Previously, nearly one thousand council homes had age restrictions placed on them, with around two-thirds being reserved for over 60s and a third for over 50s.

But now the age restrictions have been removed, and being replaced with ‘local letting policies’ where required.

Back in 2018, age restrictions were removed in 80 per cent of the council houses which had them.

Now, age restrictions have been removed on the remaining 20 per cent of general needs council houses.

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The removal of restrictions does not apply to sheltered accommodation, which means there are still age limits on care and retirement homes, sheltered living and some disabled access properties.

The restrictions were imposed when there were concerns about mixing older and younger council tenants together.

However, Reading Borough Council’s assistant housing needs manager Sarah Hennessey said: “With a changing demographic, age alone is not an indication of whether a tenant will be the perpetrator of anti-social behaviour or neighbour nuisance.”

Questions were raised over what local lettings policies entailed.

Councillor Ellie Emberson (Labour, Coley), the council’s lead for housing, explained that criteria for new council occupants include not considering those who have a history of anti-social behaviour and heavy drug use.

This criteria is in place as part of the local letting policy on the Wensley Road estate in Coley.

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Cllr Emberson added the policies are formed in consultations by herself, as lead councillor for housing, and ward councillors where the council houses are in.

Cllr Meri O’Connell (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) suggested that current tenants and neighbours of council housing estates should be involved in forming the policies.

She asked: “How are we going to manage existing residents’ anxiety over changes?

“I see that the lead councillors and ward members are involved, and obviously I am a representative, but I don’t live in those blocks myself.”

Housing manager Hennessey replied: “The mechanism that we were considering for consultation was through ward members but we’re happy to take suggestions on how else we can involve the communities if that is felt the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, cllr Will Cross (Labour, Redlands) asked whether council houses in the Hexham Road estate would have local letting policies to take into account local issues.

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Housing manager Hennessey answered that there are currently no local letting policies in the Hexham Road estate, and she did not foresee the need for one.

However, she did acknowledge a local letting policy for the council houses could be implemented if needed.

The removal of restrictions was agreed unanimously by the council’s Housing Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee on Wednesday, June 29.