DISTRICT chiefs have agreed to create a new trust to help the homeless or those in housing need in Purbeck.

Purbeck District Council (PDC) members debated the future of Timson Cottages, Langton Matravers, at their full council meeting this week.

These two small listed cottages were bequeathed to the district council decades ago, for the purpose of providing somewhere to live, free of charge, for old people in need.

The future of the cottages forced its way onto the district agenda in the light of the looming local government reorganisation.

Before Tuesday's meeting, which was held at Westport House, Worgret Road, Wareham, local councillors had already discussed transferring the cottages over to Langton Matravers Parish Council.

However, a report to members from council officers had recommended Timpson Cottages should be the subject of a trust, enabling them to be managed locally.

Any such trust will have to be registered with the Charity Commission.

Since the 1980s, Timpson Cottages have been managed by a committee which includes both parish and district council members.

The tenants to not pay rent, instead they make monthly voluntary contributions to meet the maintenance costs of the two properties.

A report ahead of Tuesday's meeting, from PDC officers, explained: "The creation of a trust will allow the Timpson Cottages to be managed more locally and hence effectively.

"Opening up the beneficiaries of the trust will also increase the number of people who are likely to be most in need of accommodation and therefore ensure that the trust remains sustainable."

Approval of the final terms of the trust will be delegated to the district authority's general manager of public health and housing, in consultation with council leader Gary Suttle and the ward member for Langton Matravers