Stevenage Homes scrapped by council

Steveange Borough Council has voted to scrap its semi-independent housing organisation and bring management of council homes back in house.

Last night (Thursday) the Labour-controlled cabinet backed officer’s recommendations to dissolve Stevenage Homes – the arms length management organisation (ALMO) that has run its 8,300 council homes since 2006.

The organisation was set up to access government funding to improve housing, but Coalition changes to the way this is managed means ALMOs are no longer necessary.

Stevenage Homes staff, housed in the authority’s Danestrete offices, will transfer to council employment, but an as yet unspecified number of jobs will go.

Finance chiefs estimate the move will save between �635,000 and �860,000 a year.

Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “This has been a carefully considered decision, and one that has been made with the needs of our residents foremost in our minds.

“We can make substantial financial savings by managing our housing stock within the council and these much-needed funds can be used to help improve and maintain people’s houses.

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Ann Webb, executive member for housing, added: “We worked with tenants and leaseholders throughout this appraisal process and their views are reflected in the consultation results. We will continue to work together with tenants and leaseholders and I look forward to delivering an exemplary service that meets their needs.”

Lib Dem councillors opposed the decision, calling for a delay of 12 months to consider other options including a long-term contract with Stevenage Homes, transfer of empty properties and land to the company, and a community and council owned organisation. They were defeated by 22 to eight.