Vote on future of council houses delayed until 2012

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A CRUNCH vote on Flintshire’s council houses will not be held this year.

The long-awaited date for the ballot of more than 9,000 tenants on the future of their homes could take place in March next year, although a final date is yet to be set.

Tenants will decide whether to hand over control of their homes to a not-for-profit registered social landlord or stay under Flintshire Council ownership.

It was thought the ballot would take place this autumn.

Aston councillor Helen Brown, executive member for housing, said: “The project board and other senior members will be shortly receiving a draft of the Choices document.

“This potentially will be the item that will provide our tenants with information that will enable them to make their own decision on the future of their homes.

“Once that draft has been through the process of approval which includes the Welsh Government, the project board, the housing scrutiny committee, the executive committee and on to full council. A date will then be announced.

“There is no current date as it stands today and that date will be approved once the members of Flintshire Council, along with the Welsh Government, approve the Choices document and move to ballot.

“There will be no unnecessary rush and the council remains in a neutral position.”

The Welsh Government says all properties in Wales must be brought up to Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 2012, or as soon as possible after this date.

A stock condition survey revealed that Flintshire Council must make a substantial amount of improvements to its homes to meet WHQS.

The council has already approved an improvement programme which would see all properties fitted with a WHQS kitchen, boiler and mains wired smoke detector and 1300 bathroom improvements completed to the standard, if tenants vote to remain under council control.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council is continuing to consult tenants.

The council is not seeking to promote a particular result and believes it is the tenants’ decision to decide the future of their homes. There is a choice for council tenants when the ballot takes place – either to vote in favour of transfer or not.”

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