Flintshire homes sell-off fears

Published date: 12 June 2014 |
Published by: Romilly Scragg 
Read more articles by Romilly Scragg  Email reporter


COUNCIL houses to be built in Flintshire should not be sold off to council tenants, say senior councillors.

Flintshire Council has announced it plans build its first new council houses in the county for 24 years to combat the “desperate” need for social housing.

The 100 new homes are to be constructed over the next six years,.

But as the council’s housing overview and scrutiny committee met to discuss the department’s six-year strategy, members voiced concerns about tenants’ ‘right-to-buy’ the coveted new builds.

They also said the 100 new homes should be spread evenly across the region and questioned why only 100 homes were being planned.

Cllr Peter Curtis suggested the new council homes could be lost to private ownership because of council tenants’ right-to-buy.

Mrs Budden said talks were being held with the Welsh Government.

“They do have a process for suspending the right-to-buy but there have been concerns.

“Cabinet members wouldn’t like to see new builds and then see those assets sold off.

“It’s one of the things we’re raising with the Welsh Government so the assets can be held by the council long-term.”

Cllr Paul Shotton said he hoped the new homes would be evenly spread across Flintshire.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Helen Brown said a lot of sites were being looked at but no locations had yet been decided.

Cllr George Hardcastle agreed the new building was “fantastic news” but thought 100 new homes over six years was “a bit low”.

Mrs Budden said: “We can only make a commitment to 100 based on the approval of borrowing we expect we’ll get.

“But of course, as time moves on, there will be increased capacity in the housing account and, in the longer term, members will be able to decide if the surplus can be used to build more.”

She said that from April 2015, the council expected to be £1m better off each year in the future because of the Welsh Government's dismantling of the housing revenue account subsidy system which has previously been blamed for limiting the council’s ability to build homes.

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