I feel a lot better today, having had a reasonable sleep last night and my excessively sore hips having settled down. I did a lot more research last night and this morning on the Housing Dept website (they have pages and pages of notes) and am now up to speed on everything....I think. The issue with our application that was troubling me yesterday is no longer an issue, I've found, having done the extra research.
Firstly, I must address something that Brenda said in a comment yesterday - and thank you everyone for all the comments. Brenda suggested that, if it is going to be years before we are offered a Local Authority place, perhaps we should consider moving to a very small place in town, temporarily. There are a few reasons why this will not be a good idea at all:-
1. If we chose to move to such a place, that the Local Authority considered met all our needs, then we would be removed from the Housing register and would no longer be eligible for Local Authority housing.
2. Private rents in the local, and wider, area have rocketed in the past couple of years. This is due to the nuclear power station currently being built (it'll take several more years before completion) at Hinkley Point, not far from where we live. They employ literally thousands of workers, from all over the country - and abroad - who all need to be housed locally, and private landlords have raised their rental prices massively to take advantage of this. Mostly way out of our price range. So it's very unlikely we could even afford a place in town.
Another thing is that having lived for so long now in a very rural and peaceful area with no crime, neither of us wants to live in a town - on the edge of a town would be ok, I suppose, but preferably a village with a shop and GP surgery nearby, or at least with a bus service so we could easily get to them. Some people might consider that we're being very picky, but obviously we want to be happy where we live, there's no point in moving somewhere that we'll hate, just to be close to amenities. But thank you anyway, Brenda, I do appreciate your support.
I discovered that as well as Local Authority (L/A) owned properties, the housing register also lists properties owned by private Housing Associations (H/A) who are contracted to provide social housing - 18 of them to be exact. Out of these 18, the majority will only offer homes to people on the L/A housing register, but there are 4 H/As which will also offer some of their properties privately, at 'affordable rent'. Affordable rent is on a par with what would be charged by the L/A for a similar property, as opposed to 'market rent' which is basically them charging whatever they like. So that's opened up another avenue for us.
My head is full to bursting of all this new housing stuff, so I'm having a day off from even looking or thinking about it, to give my poor little brain cells time to process it all. Today we're taking Betty to the groomers for her bath and nail clipping and general fussing (she loves it there, and they love her) and then we're going shopping. As it's a lovely sunny day with beautiful blue sky, after a very frosty start, we may even go for a drive somewhere.