HOME buyers in the Cotswolds will now have up to eight weeks to buy former council houses.

Cotswold District Council's cabinet made the decision at a meeting earlier this month following a public consultation at the end of last year.

The council decided to review section 157 of the Housing Act 1985 Restriction which restricts the resale of properties bought under the Right to Buy scheme.

Concerns were raised that the old policy of allowing 28 days for people living in the area to buy them before marketing them for everyone else was not long enough.

Under the new scheme, anyone selling one of these former council homes located in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will have to market their property to local bidders for eight weeks before making them available to the wider public.

The Council has also decided that serving and former members of the armed forces may be recognised as local people to take advantage of the priority restrictions.

Councillor Sue Jepson, CDC Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, said: “ Local buyers often did not hear about properties being made available, and even when they did they often had insufficient time to consult financial advisers and raise a deposit.

"As a result, we believe that eight weeks is a more appropriate period. We are also pleased to announce that some serving or former members of the armed forces may also be able to take advantage of the eight week priority arrangement accorded to local residents.

"These requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Many military personnel need to be mobile and this tends to jeopardise their eligibility for local connection requirements.

“However, one thing will not change – we’ve made it clear that the resale condition (known as Section 157) will be retained for subsequent disposals of these properties.”