Tuesday 7 March 2017

Southend Labour disappointed with council properties' sales

Press Release

Southend Labour disappointed with council properties' sales

On December 7th, 2016, the Council sold 2A Bournemouth Park Road for £224,000. On the same day it also sold 4 Cranley Avenue for £301,000

Labour councillors were disappointed that the Conservative Administration decided to sell these two properties, which have been used for decades as social housing.

These properties were family homes, one for more than 40 years and another for over twenty years. The two properties were relinquished by their tenants, as in both cases one of the residents encountered ill health.

The council have used the technical argument that the properties are not part of the South Essex Homes portfolio, yet both sets of residents had access to the full range of services from SEH over the period that the properties were managed by them. Previously, the properties were managed directly by the council, prior to ALMO transfer and even further back, by Essex County Council.

Cllr Anne Jones says: "It hardly matters to families deserving of housing, which part of the council are responsible for particular properties. They just want a place to call home. The Conservatives have stated that the properties are in need of major repair, but this is not the case and is an insult to the families who resided there. Both properties, internally and externally were meticulously maintained by the residents who took pride in their much loved homes."

The Conservatives describe these properties as 'not typical council houses', whatever that means and not 'not forming part of an estate', which further shows the lack of regard that they have for the people of this town. Such stereo typical views are most unwelcome and indicative of an administration out of touch with the people it serves.

The excuses that are given by the Conservatives do not hold up to scrutiny, as they continue to let similar properties at market rent from the same property portfolio, resulting in sustained income and the retention of family homes, much needed in the current housing crisis.

Cllr Jones goes on to say: "The revenue from these sales ( £525,000) will not be ploughed back into social housing (unlike receipts from Right To Buy) Instead it will transfer to the Council's General Fund. It is interesting to note that the costs of plans for commemorating  Southend's 125th anniversary are estimated at a similar figure."

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane said: "I am sure other properties have also been sold in recent years. Bearing in mind the local housing crisis and the large housing list, what does the selling of these properties say to those who still await to be housed by this Council?"

"It really is very disappointing" Julian, "The money raised is roughly equal to what is being spent on the 125 year anniversary of the Borough; I think a better way to celebrate would be the housing of two families by the local authority."

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