Concerns over new “right to buy” plans


Circle Housing boss calls on government to provide more detail over Right to Buy expansions

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: June 07, 2015

THE boss at Mole Valley’s biggest social housing provider has expressed concerns over new “right to buy” plans outlined by the Government.

Glynis Gatenby, managing director at Circle Housing Mole Valley, warned that more details need to be given as to how housing associations will be compensated for loss of housing stock amidst fears the changes could affect provision in the district.

The plans, introduced in the Housing Bill as part of the Queen’s Speech, will allow 1.3 million people nationwide currently living in housing association properties to buy the home outright – similar to the current policy affecting council-owned houses.

It would also require councils to sell off high-value vacant properties to fund the building of new homes to replace those that are sold off.

The Government said it hopes the expanded scheme will help tenants, particularly younger tenants, get on the property ladder.

But Ms Gatenby, who says she supports the idea of home ownership, fears not enough detail has been provided about how and where new homes would be built, or how housing associations would be compensated for loss of assets.

“We fully support the aspiration of home ownership and welcome the fact that housing has been placed at the top of the national agenda as an important issue,” she said.

“Many of our residents in Mole Valley already have the right to buy as their homes were transferred to us from the local authority. The Government says that replacements for housing association properties sold under the extended scheme would be built in the same area and we would need to see more detail to understand how this would work.

“We also need to see more detail on how we, as a not-for-profit organisation, would be compensated for the loss of housing stock.”

In 2007, Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) voluntarily transferred its housing stock to Circle Housing and according to executive member for community engagement and residents services, Vivienne Michael, does not own any high-value social housing. She added: “We await details of the new Housing Bill and will work with all our local housing associations to establish the potential impact on them, their tenants, the wider community and MVDC.”

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