Government backs vote on Salford stock transfer of 8,500 houses
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Salford City Council says the government has given the go-ahead for a vote by tenants on plans to transfer the ownership of 8,500 council houses as part of a £75 million investment programme.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins approved the go-ahead to proceed to a ballot of all council tenants over plans to transfer the properties in central Salford to Salix Homes. Residents will be consulted before a ballot in the autumn.
"Today’s deal is great news for Salford’s residents, unlocking £75 million to invest in bringing their homes up to a high standard," Hopkins said. "This investment from Salix will mean residents in all 8,500 social homes in Salford will benefit from a range of improvements, whether new kitchens or bathrooms, new windows or better heating. So I’m pleased to sign this deal with the city council and write off £65 million of their historic housing debt, so they can put the offer to their tenants."
If tenants vote 'Yes' to transfer, Salix Homes, which already manages the properties on behalf of the council, has promised to invest £75 million on improving people’s homes and communities by 2020.
Salford City Council, which currently owns the homes, does not have the money to make the necessary improvements and bring the properties up to modern standards. Salix Homes says a 'yes' vote means all 8,500 properties will reach the government’s decent homes standard by 2020. This includes 4,000 homes getting new kitchens or bathrooms, 2,000 homes getting new windows and 3,000 homes getting upgraded heating.
Councillor Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment, said: "This announcement is fantastic news for tenants and for Salford as a whole and shows that the government is confident in the council’s proposals to transfer its housing stock to Salix Homes and the extra investment that will bring. Salix Homes has an excellent track record in delivering a first class housing service in Salford."
Salix Homes Ltd is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), responsible for the management of 8,500 council homes.
Photo shows Sue Sutton, chief executive of Salix Homes, councillor Gena Merrett, tenant Barbara Harper, and Peter Styche, chair of the Salix Homes Board.