Housing could be ""lost for ever

PUBLISHED: 17:03 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 11 May 2010

Cllr NIGEL CATHCART

Cllr NIGEL CATHCART

HOUSING stock in South Cambridgeshire will be ""lost for ever"" if it is transferred to a private housing association, says a councillor. Cllr Nigel Cathcart, who represents Bassingbourn on South Cambridgeshire District Council, believes that the transfer s

HOUSING stock in South Cambridgeshire will be "lost for ever" if it is transferred to a private housing association, says a councillor.

Cllr Nigel Cathcart, who represents Bassingbourn on South Cambridgeshire District Council, believes that the transfer should not go ahead in the current climate of "financial uncertainty".

He said: "I consider it would be irresponsible to proceed with this project when there is so much financial uncertainty, and when it is not clear what terms the banks may offer.

"I am opposed to the transfer because I feel that it would give the banks too much influence on how the housing stock is managed, and there is a strong risk that the interest and other charges levied by the banks will be paid at the expense of any needed to the housing stock.

"Tenants may be considerably worse off than they are now."

At the last full meeting of the district council, Cllr Cathcart seconded a motion that the proposed transfer be delayed until the financial markets were more settled. Although the motion garnered some support, it was rejected by the majority of the council.

Cllr Cathcart said: "This whole process is being rushed and I would urge tenants to give a resounding 'no' vote if it comes to ballot.

"Tenants need to be aware that if transfer goes ahead there is no way back and the council housing stock will be lost forever to a housing association."

The district council has launched a mobile exhibition, on tour this month, offering tenants the chance to find out more about what transfer could mean for them, and about the new local housing association South Cambridgeshire Village Homes, being set up with the help of the council to take on its homes should tenants support a housing transfer.

Chairman of South Cambridgeshire Village Homes shadow board, Raith Overhill, said: "We are proposing a multi-million pound improvement programme that will see £55 million rolled out in the first five years alone.

"The purpose of the exhibition is to show tenants exactly what they could expect from us, should they vote in favour of transfer."

SCDC leader Cllr Ray Manning said: "We are keen to ensure our tenants have all the information they need to make this important decision.

"I would encourage as many tenants as possible to attend these exhibitions.

"When the time comes for tenants to vote on the proposal, they can then make an informed decision."

The timetable for the road show can be found online at www.scambs.gov.uk

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