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Council to take back control of stock from ALMO

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Council to take back control of stock from ALMO

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing

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High Peak Borough Council is to take back direct control of its housing stock from its ALMO, High Peak Community Housing (HPCH).

HPCH has run the council's 4,100 homes, including repairs, lettings and rent collection, since 2004.

The company was set up mainly to access extra funding of £9.4 million from the Government, but changes to funding mean that extra cash is no longer available and running a separate company involves unnecessary administration costs and duplication, the council has claimed.

Councillors have been recommended to approve bringing the management of the housing stock back within the direct control of the council after officers reported that only nine percent of tenants who responded to a consultation process were in favour of retaining HPCH.

Seventy-nine percent of residents voted in favour of the move.

In a statement, HPCH said: "Staff and services will seamlessly transfer back to the council.

"Tenants and other customers should not be impacted. Our aim will be to work with the council to ensure that tenants continue to receive excellent services."

Council officers have estimated that returning the housing management service to the local authority would, over time, deliver projected savings of £620,000 a year and give High Peak tenants the best value for money.

There will be no changes to tenancy agreements and an initial extra £178,000 will be spent on homes from April 2013 because the money will not be needed to maintain HPCH as a separate company.

Councillor Anthony McKeown, the council’s executive member for community services, said: “We feel that returning the housing management `in house` to the council is the best way forward for tenants because efficiency savings can be put straight into managing and maintaining the houses.

“Subject to the decision being ratified at our full meeting of the council on February 28, officers will start work immediately to implement a transition plan with a view to seamlessly winding up the housing company and integrating staff and functions into High Peak Borough Council.

“As one of the prime reasons for the planned change is to make efficiencies, we don’t propose to rebrand any vehicles, buildings, uniforms or stationery until new ones are needed.”

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