Controversy as residents reject Homes in Havering

�Havering Council’s housing stock looks set to be taken back under council control after residents voted in favour for the plan.

But opponents of the idea have slammed the way in which the council carried out a consultation on the matter. Tenants and leaseholders voted in favour of the move with 48.3 per cent saying ‘yes’ in a poll.

‘Not a criticism’

Only 32.1 per cent voted for Homes in Havering (HiH) to continue to manage council flats and houses, with 19.6 per cent saying they had no preference.

A total of 39.4 per cent of residents who were eligible turned out to vote.

The council’s cabinet will have the final say on the issue on March 21.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing, said: “This is not a criticism of the work that Homes in Havering has done but we simply no longer need a separate organisation to access funds.”

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The council estimates that it will save �300,000 a year by taking the management of the stock away from HiH – which was given management of council homes in 2006.

Havering Council says it doesn’t need HiH because the government has removed the obligation on councils to run its housing through a separate body to access the decent homes grant.

But criticisms have been made over the process leading up to the vote.

In February 2010 the council commissioned a �13,000 report by Graham Moody Associates into the management of the housing stock.

It reported that the council would have “substantial difficulties” if it took the management back in-house.

The findings weren’t published because the council said it was an ‘internal report’.

Tenants representative Dick Sylvester, said: “Residents have been misinformed all the way through (the consultation); it’s just making us so angry.

“With Homes in Havering if your house has got a problem you ring through at the call centre and within 30 minutes, they’ve got a person speaking, and they sort out serious problems within 28 days.”

But John Ross, a former leaseholders and tenants representative, said: “The vote is wonderful news, the best thing that could have happened. Residents will be able to speak to councillors about their problems like they used to years ago.”

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