Former west Lindsey leader calls for almshouses tax cut

Alms Houses EMN-190626-160601001
Alms Houses EMN-190626-160601001

The former leader of West Lindsey District Council is calling for the authority to cut taxes for low income housing run by charities.

Modern almshouses are self-contained low-cost housing which mostly cater for elderly people with low incomes and no living relatives.

Instead of rent, those living in them pay a licence or maintenance fee of less than half the market value for a similar property and are cared for by a team of volunteers.

The historic Bell’s Almshouses, in Kingerby, near Market Rasen is one such place, consisting of three bungalows, and Coun Jeff Summers believes the facilities could be helped further by being exempt from council tax, or seeing it cut sharply.

“The people using almshouses are destitute, bereft of family – that sort of situation. They are people beyond working life and it’s a way of housing them,” Coun Summers told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines.

“The fact is they are in effect another form of social housing for the district.

“If there’s anything we can do to ease the financial burden to the residents we should look to do it.”

Bell’s Almshouses were built during the plague in 1665. They were rebuilt in 1990s from six bedsits into three units with gardens.

There are Almshouses all over Lincolnshire, including another in the West Lindsey District on Caistor Road, in Market Rasen.

West Lindsey District Council’s current grant schemes do not cover almshouses.

Coun Summers said the move could encourage more similar schemes to pop-up, adding: “If they were allowed to not have to pay council tax there could be an increase in people doing the work and bringing these groups together to provide more of this type of housing.”

If the councillor’s motion is passed on Monday, it will go before one of the authority’s committees for further examination.