New wave of council housing in Gloucester could be on the cards
FIVE thousand council house tenants in Gloucester could find themselves with a new landlord.
Gloucester City Council, which is saddled with £62.5million of housing debt, is considering selling its 5,500 homes to Gloucester City Homes, which is already responsible for managing the properties.
The sale would allow Gloucester City Homes to take out bank loans to build the first new council housing in Gloucester since the 1970s.
The city council has reached its 'debt cap', meaning it cannot borrow more.
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Building up to 100 new homes would go some way to easing the housing waiting list, which has 5,000 people on it currently.
Tenant Andy Harley, chairman of the Housing Futures Residents' Panel, said: "The main benefit is that we would be able to build new homes. We have already identified small pockets of land where up to 100 new homes could be built.
"This would in turn reduce the waiting list which is terrible at the moment. There is a desperate shortage of one bedroom homes, for example. Many people have nowhere to go."
Some 2,000 people on the waiting list are single.
Martin Shields, corporate director of service and neighbourhoods at the city council, said: "This way forward would be more advantageous to the council and the new provider as the Government would be willing to write off virtually all the council's housing debt."
Gloucester City Council's cabinet members will discuss the proposal on Wednesday before the full council makes its decision on Thursday night.
Councillor Paul James, city council leader, said: "The case for doing this is overwhelming not only because of the financial benefits but the prospect of creating new homes and regeneration of some of the tired corners of our estates.
"I think Gloucester City Homes have done a brilliant job since they began."
If the plan, known as a 'council and community-owned (Co-Co) plus model', is approved, it will then need rubber-stamping by the Government and tenants will be given a vote.