FIFTEEN homes are now available for families under a new scheme which gives people cash incentives to move to a smaller property.

Basildon Council launched its downsizing scheme in December last year, offering up to £1,500 to tenants to move into smaller properties – making bigger homes available to other people.

The scheme was designed to help unclog the authority’s social housing waiting list, with thousands currently in line for council homes.

Kay Boshell, 65, moved from a three-bed property in St George’s Court, The Fryth, Fryerns, into a one bed property in St Gabriel’s Court, Pitsea.

Mrs Boshell, said: “The property is absolutely beautiful and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

“Everyone has been so helpful. I don’t have anything bad to say whatsoever.

“I would like to encourage people to use the scheme if they can.”

The council has also tightened its regulations on the list.

It passed a new policy last year under the previous Tory administration, where only people with a local link to Basildon for seven years were able to join the list.

Phil Turner, leader of Basildon Council, said: “We want to make the best possible use of the housing we already have to ensure there are homes available for families who need them the most and have over 300 households that are currently under-occupied.

“I am delighted Mrs Boshell has used the scheme.

“Downsizing not only helps families who need the extra room, but it can also help meet the personal needs of those who no longer want a large property.”

The cash is available for people who want to move from a familysized social home to one bed or two bed properties.

To find out more, contact Basildon Council on 01268 533333.