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[12 AUG 99] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Coventry Council Defends Council House Transfer

Coventry City Council has defended its plans to transfer its 20,345 council houses into the private sector.

The plans have met with objection from the action group Defend Coventry Council Housing Campaign who claim that it will lead to higher rent charges and less availability for vulnerable applicants.

However Cllr Peter Lacy, chairman of the housing policy team believes the initiative is the only way forward.

Cllr Peter Lacy, Coventry City CouncilHe said:

"To get our stock of housing up to the standard that I would crudely describe as ‘fit for my mum to live in’ will cost around 250 million pounds, and this is the best way to finance that.

"This has been described as us selling off assets but that is not the case at all. We have actually set-up our own bespoke housing company which will have a committee comprising of councillors, residents and independents so it will be done properly.

"It will be a non-profit making organisation and will be infinitely better for residents who live in the stock of houses because they will all be brought up to scratch."

And the councillor is convinced that DCCHC is not taking into account the views of residents when objecting to the scheme.

He said:

"The DCCHC think that the government should find the quarter of a billion pounds to work on our stock of houses, but we have to be realistic and that is not going to happen.

"When you think we are just one of the cities in the country with this problem and there are other, like Manchester, that probably need four times that amount then it is not practical to ask it all to be funded centrally.

"Stratford Council has done a similar thing and it has been a great success, you only have to ask the residents there and they will tell you how much better off they are."

Coventry City council will now present a full report to the government and then put a proposal to residents in late October, and if successful the whole scheme would be in place by March 2000.

The new housing company would be called the Whitefriars Housing Group, with subsidiaries looking after different areas of the city.
     

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 12 Aug 99

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