Lincolnshire

North Kesteven District Council's moveable wall homes listed for award

The homes
Image caption A partition wall in the homes is easily removed to change the number of bedrooms

An innovative housing development that could help people avoid the so-called "bedroom tax" has been shortlisted for an award.

North Kesteven District Council built 13 homes in Ruskington, Lincolnshire, with moveable internal walls.

It means the number of bedrooms can be easily altered from one to two to avoid losing housing benefit.

The project is shortlisted in the outstanding development category of the UK Housing Awards.

In each of the homes, built last year, the main bedroom has several electrical fittings and two windows allowing for a partition wall to be easily installed or removed.

Michael Gadd, property services manager, said: "It does mean that no-one can be penalised for having a spare bedroom that's not being used."

"We can alter the properties to either one bedroom or two bedrooms depending on who is living there."

Kate Webb, from Shelter, said: "Unfortunately in most areas there just aren't the smaller homes available for people to downsize in to.

"That's why initiatives like this one are welcome because it gives people some sort of respite from the bedroom tax."

Spare Room Subsidy

Image copyright North Kesteven District Council
Image caption Homes are assessed under the so-called "size criteria"

Since April 2013, families considered to have too much living space by their local authorities have received reduced housing benefit.

Under the government's so-called "size criteria", families are assessed for the number of bedrooms they actually need.

The government said it was removing the spare room subsidy but Labour dubbed it the "bedroom tax".

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