“This is likely to require the demolition of the poorest housing stock to replace with new homes”.
The report states that 60% of Council homes were built between 1930 and 1968. Older ones may be reaching the end of their lives. The report claims that the popularity and value of all properties have been assessed in a “Housing Asset Register” although no link to the document has been provided.
The report’s conclusions could have far reaching effects on many Council tenants living in York.
It is a shame, therefore, that the report – and an accompanying review of the Housing Revenue Account – have been added to the agenda for the busiest meeting of the year, with tenants and their representatives having had little time to digest the report’s content (or even see it in most cases).
No consultation with stakeholders has taken place nor is any promised.
The Council confirms that – in advance of government legislation – it will sell any high value Council houses that become vacant, although It does not indicate the threshold for such sales.
It will also consider selling other sub-standard properties when they become vacant. Non-standard built houses like “Orlits” and those liable to flooding or dampness are specifically mentioned.
One piece of good news is that the Council may in future use “right to buy” receipts to fund “a programme of purchase and repair of individual homes from the open market if no use has been identified (for the receipt) with 6 months to go”.
The Council is right to come up with plans for a regeneration of its housing estates. Too many of them have been subject to decline over several years with officials having ignored the need to provide basic improvements, like car parking spaces, for too long.
There is little pride in some communal areas and some politicians see local open spaces and the stock of 968 garages only as potential building sites.
However, by giving all homes what it calls a sale “opportunity rating” the Council seems to be oblivious to the resulting blight that could affect whole neighbourhoods.
It would be easy to dismiss a report on the future of the 7731 Council houses in York as the work of a Borneo Witch Doctor. It certainly contains a lot of mumbo jumbo.