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More Council Houses Set To Be Transferred?

Council houses in Nuneaton and Bedworth could be transferred into the private sector, giving a new landlord to thousands of people who now live in local authority homes.

The borough council's housing committee is to consider a report which recommends a thorough review of its own housing service. The council needs to sort out a shortfall in money to keep its houses up to scratch.

It could cost about £78 million to being the homes up to standard. But this year, the council is only able to spend £3 million on improvements. So a list of options has been drawn up on ways forward.

Stratford District Council has already moved its houses to the private sector, and homes in Coventry are due to be transferred next month.

The report looking at the options for Nuneaton and Bedworth points out ways that council could raise the money it needs.

The options include:

  • raising finance through the Private Finance Initiative,

  • establishing an arms-length housing company,

  • transferring the stock to a housing association,

  • continuing to operate within the resources available to the council.

Cllr Sheila Hancox, chair of the borough housing committee, admitted the council has not got enough money for the work. She said:

"There are major challenges facing all councils who need to invest in their housing stock.

“We are not currently able to provide the level of investment we would wish to, and so our houses can not be improved to the standard that tenants are entitled to expect.

“The committee is therefore being asked to take a comprehensive and detailed look at all the options that are available, so we can make decisions in consultation with tenants that are in everyone's best interests".

The council has asked consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers to look at the various options, and their report will be used to prompt a wide debate on the subject. 

The report will look at how much it will cost to bring the stock up to modern standards and how much is likely to be available under the various options. 

The council will be carrying out a major consultation exercise with tenants, which will include a series of public meetings over the coming months.

One of the options under consideration will be stock transfer which could involve the Council setting up a new housing association, which would be partly controlled by tenants.

Cllr Hancox added:

"I would stress that this is only one of a number of options to be considered, and it could only happen if a majority of tenants vote in favour.

“It is an interesting possibility, as are some of the other options, but we will not be forming a view on whether it is right for Nuneaton and Bedworth until all the facts have been looked at, and I would encourage others to do the same.

"These are very important issues for all our tenants, and I can assure people that we will consider all the information, and take all views into account before reaching a conclusion. 

“If stock transfer does seem to be the way forward, remember it is tenants and not the council who will make the final decision."

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CWN / Politics / Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council / 17 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM