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[15 MAR 99] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Coventry Pioneers Housing Transfer

Coventry, so often local government pioneers, has notched another first by leading the way to transfer its huge housing stock to a private company.

The scheme, which has been described as "ground-breaking" by housing minister Hilary Armstrong, will be the first of its kind in the country if the tenants of the 20,500 houses give it the go ahead.

Later this year the tenants will take part in a secret ballot. The scheme will stand or fall by a simple majority of those who vote. It could go through therefore on a low total of votes.

Negotiations are under way to explain the scheme to tenants’ delegates on the city-wide tenants’ panel.

If it is voted through in the referendum Coventry will be the first metropolitan council to hand over its entire housing stock.

A Housing Company Group would be formed with a board made up of one-third tenants, one-third council representatives and one-third outside housing experts. It is expected the new company would be able to borrow more than the 6 million limit currently imposed on the Council.

Work could then start on the huge backlog of council house repairs currently totalling 250 million.

A housing department spokesman said:

"This is wonderful news. Coventry prides itself on being among the great pioneers in local government."

"We were first to hand over the operation of the city centre to a private company and now the Government has included us on the transfer list we are in the forefront again.

"We have investigated all the options and we think this scheme offers the best way forward for our tenants."
    

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 15 Mar 99

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