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
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
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."