Fort mum slams council over alleged house offer blunder

Alisha Lindsay, pictured, says she was offered a new house and then had it withdrawn a fortnight after accepting it. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F30 Alisha Lindsay 01
Alisha Lindsay, pictured, says she was offered a new house and then had it withdrawn a fortnight after accepting it. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F30 Alisha Lindsay 01

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A Fort William single mother has slammed Highland Council after she says the local authority scrapped an offer of a new house which she had been waiting two years for just a fortnight after originally making the offer.

Alisha Lindsay says she is furious with the way she has been treated by the council.

‘After waiting for two years to move into a new property, the council made me an offer of one elsewhere in Fort William which I accepted,’ Ms Lindsay told the Lochaber Times.

‘Then just two weeks later they informed me they were withdrawing the offer because they had realised the property in question was a bungalow rather than a house and that single-storey properties had to be reserved for people with disabilities.

‘I understand that people with disabilities need certain types of accommodation but they use a points-based system and I qualified.

‘I was originally told I’d be offered the next three-bedroom property that came along and when it did I accepted it. How can it be legal for them to make an offer, for me to accept it and then for the council to take it back, to just rip that away from us?

‘My children and I have been waiting two years for this and they were all excited about the move and looking forward to getting away from where we are at the moment and then this happens.

‘I find it frankly unacceptable. We had packed up all our stuff ready to move and then I had to disappoint the kids telling them we weren’t going.

‘I have contacted my MP, Ian Blackford, and hope he can help us because this just isn’t fair.’

The Lochaber Times contacted Highland Council for a comment on Ms Lindsay’s situation. However, the local authority told us it was unable to comment on individual circumstances.

But a council spokesperson did tell us: ‘Our housing allocations policy is a points-based process designed to allocate suitable available properties to those applicants in the greatest housing need.

‘Where a ground-floor property becomes available in a particular area, the priority will therefore be to allocate to the applicant with the greatest ground-floor accessible need.

‘The council can confirm that all offers of allocation are provisional and are subject to change depending on circumstances. This is to ensure that the council and its Highland Housing Register partners make the best use of the available housing stock.’

Asked to comment, Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford told us: ‘This is a very unfortunate situation which I understand is the result of a clerical error.

‘The three-bed house provisionally offered to Alisha was later found to be a three-bed bungalow so, due to the demand for that type of property, the offer had to be withdrawn.

‘I believe the housing officer has apologised to Alisha for this error and assured my constituent that she will get the next available three-bed house in her chosen area.

‘It is unlikely an offer will be made by the end of this month but the housing department is hopeful that a property, in a good state of repair, will be available by the end of August.’

MP for Skye Ian Blackford. NO F15 Ian Blackford leaning
MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford.
NO-F15-Ian-Blackford-leaning.jpg

The SNP Westminster leader added: ‘I know this whole situation has been very distressing for Alisha but Scottish Housing Law is very strict.

‘Local authorities and housing associations must apply the law to all applications and offers – there is no deviating from the policy and both councils and associations are audited every year to ensure they are acting appropriately.

‘I am confident that a suitable house will be made available in the very near future.’