Some people who have spent years waiting for council housing are about to learn they will never be housed.

New guidance from central government means that as of July this year, individual councils will have the power to decide how housing stock is allocated, based upon local priorities.

Proposed changes for the housing allocations scheme for Epping Forest District Council will include slashing the priority list from six categories, to just three, and crossing off the names of hopeful candidates.

A local eligibility criteria has been suggested in the proposals, which will stop people joining the housing list, if they have no realistic chance of being housed.

There are currently around 6,700 people on the council's housing waiting list, and Councillor Stephen Murray said that the proposed regulations will eliminate hope for people who would otherwise remain on the list indefinitely.

He said: “We have people on the list who have no chance of getting an allocation, so it is a false hope.”

The proposals will also see homeless residents dropped from the priority one list, they will also only receive one suitable offer of accommodation.

Tenants living in insanitary conditions will now be made a priority, along with those with disabilities and those living overcrowded houses.

Members of the armed forces and their spouses will also be prioritised, should the plans be put into place.

The scheme is will be reviewed after 12 months.