This is a letter from somebody who would like to be a tenant if only there were more Council houses.
Following on from your article (Adver, October 4), which is also confirmed on the council’s website regarding the transfer of housing to a “not for profit housing association”, I would like to express some thoughts and ask questions.
Where exactly is the £70 million coming from to enhance the homes that are on the housing stock, and will this money be spent enhancing the homes if the tenants don’t agree to the transfer? It sounds as if this is something the council are promising, however only if the tenants agree to change – is this then morally right?
Also what will happen after five years when the housing association can determine their own rent increases?
My family and I are not fortunate enough to have gained sufficient points to even gain consideration to be allocated a council home, but even as a private tenant I am unable to see the benefits for those who are currently in council homes. It seems as though this is a sweetener in order to gain approval to go ahead with the plans.
David Cameron mentioned last week that for every council home that is purchased by the current tenant, the Government would then build a new council home in its place.
I can only assume that transferring the stock would then mean SBC wouldn’t have to meet this requirement.
They could of course build more houses in place of the stock they’ll be selling to said housing association!
I, along with friends and family, think SBC are looking for a quick way to bring some money into the local coffers, in addition to all the recent cutbacks. This doesn’t mean selling all the housing stock, green land, etc, is the best way. All the council seem to be doing is knocking down buildings and selling the land for new developments and then gaining money from the land they’ve sold to re-site said knocked down buildings. A perfect example of this is the police station; now out of town with an eyesore as a replacement; Nationwide’s move to Pipers Way, their former building has been developed into private housing. The list goes on.
From 1999 until 2003 I worked in Havelock Street when it was proposed that all the buildings in Havelock Street be demolished to make way for the new town centre development. A petition by the traders there prevented this from happening and almost 10 years later the town centre development has yet to materialise.
I appreciate in recent times funds are lacking, however before the recession kicked in why didn’t the development happen?
Irrespective of whether there is a Conservative or Labour council in charge of SBC, the results are the same; sell, sell, sell with no results for us, the people who live, work and shop here. Maybe Rod Bluh should provide the residents of Swindon with what they really want – decent living, leisure and shopping facilities, not some wi-fi experiment that we’re assured “will work wonders” but may not!
Julie Basford Swindon