The number of people waiting for housing in Preston is at a three-year high.
Government statistics have revealed more than 3,200 people are currently waiting for local authority housing in the city.
In neighbouring South Ribble, the number of people waiting for homes has not been as high in more than 15 years. Just under 2,000 people are currently in line for new homes.
Public service union Unison called for a ‘bold programme’ of housebuilding to combat the problem, which housing associations have warned is likely to get worse with the introduction of the bedroom tax.
Preston Council, South Ribble Council and Chorley Council are all part of Select Move, a choice-based letting system with Community Gateway, New Progress, Chorley Community Housing, and a number of others.
A spokesman for Community Gateway Housing Association (CGA) said: “Over the past few months there has been an increase in people requiring two-bedroomed properties. For every organisation in the partnership there is a lack of available properties of this type.
“As part of CGA’s commitment to build new social housing in Preston we have focussed our plans and have built and will continue to build more two bed properties, but demand is out weighing availability.
“With the imminent introduction of the Welfare Reform Act, the pressure on tenants will increase with the reforms on house size versus number of occupants.”
Richard Houghton, director of operations with Chorley Community Housing, said: “The rise in the number of people waiting for rented accommodation reflects increased demand across the whole of the central Lancashire area.
“As a landlord, CCH works with other members of the Select Move partnership to make it easier for people in central Lancashire to get rented housing, but demand continues to outstrip supply.”
Coun Cliff Hughes, cabinet member for strategic planning and housing at South Ribble Council, said they were hopeful the problem would start to be addressed with a number of large planning applications coming forward. Their policy is to ask developers for 30 per cent to be allocated as affordable housing.
He said: “There is no real housebuilding going on and we really do need developers to start having the confidence to build. It is compounded by the changes to welfare, meaning people are thinking about where they are living and they want. It’s not easy times.”