Flood affected homes in March set for tax discount

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Fenland District Council’s Cabinet is being recommended to approve a one-off three-month discount for affected residents at its meeting tomorrow.

A total of 16 families contacted the authority to say they have been forced to move out of their homes due to damage caused by the flooding, which happened on August 8.

Twelve homes in March, two in Leverington, one in Doddington and one in Wisbech St Mary have been left unoccupied and householders have asked the council for help with council tax while in temporary accommodation as they are currently paying for it twice.

Before April last year, householders would have received automatic exemption from council tax if their properties were uninhabitable due to flooding, but a change in national regulations means that is no longer the case.

Local authorities now have the power to grant discounts in certain circumstances.

A report before the Cabinet says that if the three-month discount is approved, it would cost the council £5,114.

It states the majority of the 16 householders will be back in their properties within three months, with only one expecting to be out for as long as eight months.

But the report also warns about what agreeing to the move could mean in future.

It says: “There are risks to the council if we grant this discount and then experience similar events, whether they affect just one or hundreds of properties; as agreeing to this specific discount could be seen as setting a precedent.”

The cabinet’s decision will have to be ratified by full council before going ahead.