MORE than 5,000 people will be removed from Bournemouth’s housing waiting list as the council seeks to cut the number to a manageable level.

Currently more than 8,335 households are on the housing register and officially waiting for a council or housing association property to become available.

Now the council is proposing to remove all those people that have no realistic chance of ever being offered a property and reduce the waiting list to less than 3,000 households.

It plans to do this by changing its allocations policy, prioritising local people in housing need and on low incomes, people who are making a positive contribution to the local community and applicants who have recently served in the HM Forces or who are foster carers.

The council claims this process will be more transparent, fair and efficient and will avoid giving false hope to people who will have very little chance of ever being re-housed in Bournemouth.

Out of the 8,335 households currently on the waiting list, 35 per cent are not deemed to have a housing need and 16.5 per cent have no local connection.

These families have a less than two per cent chance of being offered accommodation.

Kelly Ansell, strategic housing service project manager, said: “We believe it’s important that residents that are most in need and who have local connections are given priority when it comes to fairly housing people in Bournemouth.

“This was echoed by residents following our recent consultation, with 85 per cent of respondents supporting the local connection criteria.

“By making changes to the council’s allocations policy we can ensure that the housing register operates more efficiently as well as making it very clear to applicants from the outset the criteria expected and their chances of being re-housed.”

Cllr Rob Lawton, the borough’s housing portfolio holder, said: “The main reason behind this is that there are some people on our waiting list who we are never going to be able to house.

“We are trying to concentrate on people who have more chance of being housed in the Bournemouth area, with local people and ex-members of the armed forces taking priority.”

The proposed new policy will go before Bournemouth’s cabinet on Wednesday.