TENANTS IN SOUTH KESTEVEN have rejected stock transfer by a vote of almost 3-1. On a 76% turnout, 73% of the Lincolnshire authority’s tenants opted to stay with the council against 27% in favour of transfer.
However, tenants in Watford voted narrowly (54.5%) in favour of transfer to Watford Community Housing Trust to become only the second community gateway transfer in the country.
The South Kesteven vote generated a classic ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ quote – and a message for the government that could have come from any of the local authorities where tenants have rejected transfer – from Frances Cartwright, the portfolio member for housing:
‘I am sorry that the twelve hundred tenants who voted for transfer will not have this opportunity, and that the district has been denied the 250 new affordable homes that the transfer would have provided. It is clear that the over-whelming majority of tenants have given a resounding vote of confidence in the management of their homes by the council and as the portfolio-holder I take great satisfaction in this.
‘So long as the government continues to siphon away nearly five million pounds every year from the money we collect in rent we will continue to face some very hard choices if we are to prevent the housing service going into deficit. The council will do all it can to respect the tenants wishes and provide them with the best possible service. Now that the tenants have voted so clearly I hope that the government will also step-up to the mark and deliver the reforms to the housing finance system that our tenants deserve.’
Officials and councillors in Watford clearly felt vindicated in going for a community gateway transfer that gives more say to tenants and leaseholders.