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New wave of council housing in Gloucester could be on the cards

By The Citizen  |  Posted: October 14, 2013

Paul James

Comments (7)

FIVE thousand council house tenants in Gloucester could find themselves with a new landlord.

Gloucester City Council, which is saddled with £62.5million of housing debt, is considering selling its 5,500 homes to Gloucester City Homes, which is already responsible for managing the properties.

The sale would allow Gloucester City Homes to take out bank loans to build the first new council housing in Gloucester since the 1970s.

The city council has reached its 'debt cap', meaning it cannot borrow more.

Building up to 100 new homes would go some way to easing the housing waiting list, which has 5,000 people on it currently.

Tenant Andy Harley, chairman of the Housing Futures Residents' Panel, said: "The main benefit is that we would be able to build new homes. We have already identified small pockets of land where up to 100 new homes could be built.

"This would in turn reduce the waiting list which is terrible at the moment. There is a desperate shortage of one bedroom homes, for example. Many people have nowhere to go."

Some 2,000 people on the waiting list are single.

Martin Shields, corporate director of service and neighbourhoods at the city council, said: "This way forward would be more advantageous to the council and the new provider as the Government would be willing to write off virtually all the council's housing debt."

Gloucester City Council's cabinet members will discuss the proposal on Wednesday before the full council makes its decision on Thursday night.

Councillor Paul James, city council leader, said: "The case for doing this is overwhelming not only because of the financial benefits but the prospect of creating new homes and regeneration of some of the tired corners of our estates.

"I think Gloucester City Homes have done a brilliant job since they began."

If the plan, known as a 'council and community-owned (Co-Co) plus model', is approved, it will then need rubber-stamping by the Government and tenants will be given a vote.

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  • Joe_Kilker  |  October 15 2013, 1:33AM

    We can attend many council meetings, and even speak at some of them. We are going to start having to, before the current administration sell the ground from under our feet... http://tinyurl.com/lmyydy9 Board meetings of Glouceser City Homes can also be attended, but they're a little sparse at the moment: http://tinyurl.com/d2ea8yw

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  • MrGarnet  |  October 15 2013, 12:37AM

    Gloucester City Homes!!! God help us they are appalling!

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  • honslknjklyt  |  October 15 2013, 12:17AM

    And the tenants will all have right to buy at a discount whereas those stuck in private accommodation, subsidise their cheap rents so they can save money, while being unable to ever have a house they can call home. Social housing is the best of all, a house you can call home, security, decent, repairs, and so on. People in social housing do not know how good they have got it.

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  • Richardburton  |  October 14 2013, 6:54PM

    I don't like this at all as Tenants are going to be 'taken over' by the ALMO and they are going to be borrowing money to build a few houses will our rents go up? On the Panel on Glos city homes are all older people as they have the time to do this but they do not speak for me as a resident of Glos city homes i don't get the minutes of meetings but i think they are on the internet. I perfer paper as i can read it anywhere! I know a lot of people who don't have the internet and don't buy the citizen. I would want the full Information in proper form not a few points. Tenants will need to organise again.Are we allowed to attend the council meeting which very few people will know is going on?

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  • SELINA30  |  October 14 2013, 4:47PM

    Another derogation of duty from the Tory council.

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  • Lecorche  |  October 14 2013, 3:24PM

    Something smells about this Council.

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  • Joe_Kilker  |  October 14 2013, 12:58PM

    Ironically, 'community-owned' ends up meaning completely unaccountable to the community. At least the councils are obliged to respond to FoI requests...

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