News that the Government has given the go-ahead to transfer the ownership of the city council's housing stock to a new landlord has been warmly welcomed.
It means that council tenants in the city will now be asked to have the final say on whether they want Gloucester City Homes – which currently manages all of the stock of 4,800 properties on behalf of the council – to become their new landlord.
Councillor Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing, health and leisure, commented: " This announcement is very good news indeed for tenants across the city. It will secure on-going investment plus new house building for future years.
" Gloucester City Homes will have the ability to borrow money for much needed repairs and improvements that simply isn't available to the city council. But the important thing is that no final decision will be made until tenants have had the chance to vote. It needs a majority to agree before a final decision can be taken.
"This is the biggest single investment by the government in Gloucester. Good housing increases the quality of life, health and wellbeing."
The stock transfer has been unanimously supported by the city council subject to the Government 'writing off' outstanding council loans used to fund housing work in previous years.
The plans have been subject to close scrutiny by government officials and ministers before their final approval was given.
Added Councillor Organ: "This has been a complex process and there is still some way to go. But having received the government approval to put the decision to our tenants is a massive step forward and shows that the proposals are sound."
Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Jeremy Hilton, said: " There is no doubt that Gloucester City Homes has done a superb job over the past few years of managing the council's housing stock. It is now the right time to transfer ownership to them so that they can carry out further investment in our properties for the benefit of tenants. This is something that the council, because of the housing cap, is unable to do. We are pleased that this announcement shows that the government has approved the transfer and is writing off the city council's housing debt to enable it to take place."
Labour group leader, Councillor Kate Haigh, commented: "This transfer will enable the tenants to live in housing that is well maintained and managed and Labour support it for that reason. The new arrangements will allow Councillors to continue to work closely with GCH and the tenants to provide decent homes for years to come"
Tenants will be asked to vote on the transfer later in the summer.