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Decaying Gloucester houses need repair 'before it's too late', Gloucester City Council warned

By citizenmike  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

Councillors wants to transfer 4,800 homes to Gloucester City Homes

Comments (8)

DECAYING houses need to be improved to stop vast swathes of Gloucester becoming derelict areas where ‘nobody wants to live’.

Council bosses have been warned that a lack of investment in social housing now would ‘decimate’ the homes of thousands of city residents.

Gloucester City Council is preparing to transfer its entire stock of 4,800 houses to Gloucester City Homes, who already manage the properties. Doing that will mean the council can clear its £62million housing debt and City Homes could borrow money to invest in the stock.

Consultant Angie Marshall-Smith warned: “Staying as we are is simply not an option.

“The homes structurally would not be sound and people would not be able to live in them. Since many are in blocks the decay would happen quicker over large areas.

“People would not want to live there and you would then have streets ruled by anti-social behaviour.

“This could become a £107million problem and it would just make it worse with an endless circle of going down and down.”

Andy Harley, chairman of the Gloucester City Homes residents’ panel, said: “If things stay the same we will find that our homes will begin to deteriorate because the money won’t be there to improve them.”

City council cabinet members agreed to send a bid off to the Government on Thursday to seek approval for the transfer.

The bid includes the creation of 100 new homes - 25 every year for four years - in an effort to cut the massive waiting list of people seeking a new home. They would be ‘affordable’ properties costing tenants £120 per week.

Gloucester City Homes would need to borrow up to £70million to improve people’s homes and build the new properties.

The council cannot borrow the money as it has reached the ‘debt cap’ limit, but as a private provider, City Homes could borrow.

Rent increases will be controlled by new Government guidelines based on the consumer price index plus one per cent.

“If tenants say ‘my rent will go through the roof’ the answer is no,” added Mrs Marshall-Smith.

Councillors have welcomed the plans.

Councillor Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing, said: “This has been a long road and there have been barriers, but I’m pleased that we have got to the stage where we are now ready to prove ourselves to the Government.

“This is not just about houses. This is about improving people’s lives and in turn reducing anti-social behaviour, improves retail trades and creates jobs. It has major impact on cities. It is really important to us.”

Councillor Fred Wood, cabinet member for performance and resources, said: “I see this as an exciting project. I am really pleased that we have got the figures down to a level where we can make it work.”

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  • Kay_Powell  |  February 16 2014, 5:36PM

    The debt is being written off entirely. I don't know how a new debt won't build up in the future, though. If the council can't currently afford to maintain the housing stock, I can't understand how GCH will be able to in the future, especially as much of it now needs renovation.

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  • RoadWombat  |  January 24 2014, 11:03PM

    Good Lord, honslknjklyt, we are in agreement on something yet again!

  • honslknjklyt  |  January 24 2014, 10:39PM

    Social housing tenants do not know how lucky they are. A landlord where reports can be repaired and they get fixed at a much quicker rate than private landlords who may never repair at all, rents that are set at a reasonable level, and of course security. Count your blessings social housing tenants, the other side is certainly not greener.

  • Richardburton  |  January 24 2014, 5:56PM

    How do you get Tenants on board? Tell them a load of Bullsh**. Where are these areas? Rents will go up the Housing benefit bill will go up and we are all going to be in debt!. Always the same people ,so called Tenants Rep being called on ... yawn.. Lets see the evidence of these facts Publish them, then a meeting with all tenants in their Neighbourhood. More houses being bullt, but as usual it's with the' Affordable Tag' but what is Affordable ? Just because you say it... dosen't make it true! If Tenants vote for this they had better be prepared to pay higher rents.

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  • Snappy_Happer  |  January 24 2014, 3:44PM

    Didn't want to be the one to tell Paul James the emperor has no clothes on... ooh, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth..

  • Lecorche  |  January 24 2014, 9:58AM

    How is the Council going to clear the 62 million it owes? Is City homes going to pay the Council up front or is this a case of jiggling the books and someone,somewhere,increasing the National Debt?

  • Glos_Lad34  |  January 24 2014, 7:03AM

    Hang on, Isn't that Kingsway already people I know don't even want to move there.

  • North Glos EPC  |  January 24 2014, 1:25AM

    Makes perfect sense to me to find a way to improve or even redevelop decaying housing to "stop vast swathes of Gloucester becoming derelict areas where 'nobody wants to live". It would provide just the kind of affordable housing we really need. But no, our dopey planners would rather have urban sprawl and concrete over Green Belt whilst allowing parts of the city to become semi derelict. Stupid or what, you really couldn't make it up could you?