A POLICY giving housing priority to people in full-time employment or aged over 50 could be extended.

Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) has requested the lettings scheme in Mardy, near Abergavenny, is given another two years, subject to a review in one year.

Introduced in 2015 in four streets - St Andrews Crescent, St Georges Crescent, Llwynu Lane and St Davids Road - the aim was to tackle anti-social behaviour, low demand and failed tenancies resulting in a high turnover of properties and increasing void periods.

A council report says the results of the policy have been positive with a reduction in voids and less existing residents wishing to leave the area.

But the report adds: "An implication of the policy, however, is that the policy effectively temporarily marginally reduces the ‘wider pool’ of accommodation available for those applicants in the greatest housing need, including homeless applicants.

"The majority of homeless applicants are not in employment and typically are under 50 years of age."

Anti-social behaviour increased in the area in 2016/17, with 16 cases, though a council report says it has reduced in 2017/18.

Domestic abuse reports account for one third of the incidents in 2017/18, according to the report.

Of 12 new anti-social behaviour cases, only 25 per cent of the alleged perpetrators were in tenancy before the policy was introduced, a council report says.

"This suggests that whilst the LLP (Local Lettings Plan) is restrictive, it by no means guarantees that new tenants will not have ASB complaints made against them," the report says.

"It should be noted that establishing culture change and improving the socio-economic profile of an area can take considerable time.

"However housing a larger proportion of tenants in paid work through the LLP has impacted significantly on the economic profile of the area."

Since February 2015, there has been a 78 per cent increase in the number of employed households in the area, while those unemployed has dropped by one third.

The number of Homesearch applications has also fallen, with only six new registrations in 2017/18.

"Ending the LLP puts at risk the progress made with change to the demography of the area, in terms of resident age and economic profile, as well as improving the public perception and resident satisfaction levels, however pressures on social housing continue to grow in Monmouthshire and continuing the LLP prevents access for some households," the report adds.

MHA will give a presentation on the scheme at a meeting of Monmouthshire council's adults select committee on Tuesday.

The committee will then decide whether to recommend extending the scheme to the council's cabinet.