CONCERNS have been raised that families in need of social housing in Prudhoe are being turned away because they are “not good enough” for new-build houses.

Gentoo is building 404 homes at its Cottier Grange development on the old Prudhoe Hospital site, and as part of its affordable housing allocation Gentoo Group is renting out 61 two-bedroom homes.

But at last week’s Prudhoe Town Council meeting, Coun. Jennifer McGee said she had heard of a situation where a young mum with a child, currently living with her parents in an overcrowded house in the Prudhoe area, had applied for a house and been turned away because she did not fulfil Gentoo’s eligibility criteria. “She was told it was because of her poor decor and housekeeping standards,” she said.

Coun. Angie Scott added: “I have heard that people in perfectly good housing are getting houses on Cottier Grange.

“It seems as though maybe people, because they are in a high priority band, are seen as they are not good enough to live there.”

A spokesman for Gentoo Group said: “Gentoo Group is currently allocating properties available for affordable rent at Cottier Grange through the Northumberland Homefinder scheme. This is in line with Northumberland County Council’s prioritisation of housing need, and, as per the Section 106 Agreement for the development, of applicants with a local connection to the area.

“However, before any formal offer is made on a property, Gentoo will carry out checks in relation to the applicant. As a result, in some instances, applicants may be not offered a property and this could be for reasons such as the receipt of adverse references, lack of affordability or current conduct observed in the existing accommodation.”

Coun. Gordon Stewart said he was talking to Gentoo in the hope of resolving the issue.