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Housing transfer is signed, sealed and delivered

Archived press release

Date Published: 19/07/06

Tenants and the wider community are set to benefit from the transfer of council housing from AVDC to a new not-for-profit organisation. A formal agreement, transferring ownership of AVDC’s 7,350 homes to the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust ...

Tenants and the wider community are set to benefit from the transfer of council housing from AVDC to a new not-for-profit organisation.

A formal agreement, transferring ownership of AVDC’s 7,350 homes to the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust (VAHT), was signed today at the council’s offices in Aylesbury.

This follows the announcement on 14 July that the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) had given their approval to the stock transfer.

The transfer of council homes, their management and maintenance to VAHT starts a new era of investment. VAHT plan to spend more than £105 million on a programme of repairs and improvements for tenants’ homes during the next five years and just under £400 million over 30 years. Planned improvements include the installation of double glazing, improved security measures and extensive refurbishment centring on kitchens and bathrooms.

AVDC will receive an initial amount of £34 million (net of government levy and set up costs) following the transfer, and an estimated £53 million from right to buy sales and VAT arrangements over the next ten years. The council will use £30 million of this funding to provide 500 affordable homes in the district, and the remaining capital receipts will be set aside to fund a range of community and environmental programmes.

Councillor Michael Edmonds, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The transfer is very good news for tenants and will make a real difference in Aylesbury Vale. The council has, throughout this exercise, been keen to stress that our motivation is to ensure the best possible standards of housing for our tenants. This transfer provides security, guarantees about future rent levels and a vastly accelerated programme of housing improvements. VAHT must now deliver on its promises and, in partnership with them and other housing associations, we will strive to regenerate housing in the district.”

Councillor Pam Pearce, Chairman of VAHT, was very pleased to hear that government’s consent to transfer had finally been received. She said: “VAHT is delighted that the transfer has been approved. We are determined to work with our tenants throughout Aylesbury Vale to improve housing now and in the years to come. The official confirmation that the transfer is going ahead is not the end of this process – it’s just the start. We will now start turning our housing proposals into reality to provide the highest quality homes for our tenants.”

As well as working with a wide range of partners to build new affordable housing for local people, the council keeps the responsibility for a number of important housing services for residents of Aylesbury Vale. These include:

  • Helping people with advice and action to prevent people from being homeless or to help them find alternative accommodation through the council’s partners
  • Nominating people from the housing register for housing with all housing associations, including VAHT
  • Advice, grants and loans to home owners who are unable to repair or adapt their properties to their needs
  • Making sure that all private housing occupied by vulnerable people meets a minimum decent standard by 2010
  • Working up plans and actions to create a balance of housing across the Aylesbury Vale area for the wide range of needs, together with neighbouring councils and partners

Councillor Edmonds said the council had a team in place to deliver these important services. He said: “Even with the passing over of the responsibility of managing and maintaining the council housing to VAHT, there is still a lot of work to do. We have a team in place to meet the new challenges we now face and will make every effort to ensure the promises made to tenants are delivered. This is a win, win, win situation for everyone.”

In November 2005, 6,308 tenants voted in the postal ballot run by the Electoral Reform Ballot Services and 74.4 per cent of tenants voted in favour of transfer.

Contact information

Telephone:

01296 585099

Email:

communications@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk