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Sandwell tenants invited to conference this weekend
8:00am Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
Sandwell Council tenants and leaseholders are invited to a special conference on Saturday to launch a new way for them to have their say on housing plans and services.
The council recently approved plans to return council housing services to the local authority’s control – and plough nearly £500 million into improving homes over the next decade.
New council homes will be built and more than 7,000 homes improved. This will help with the ever growing need for housing in the borough.
The conference - Investing in Housing, Investing in Tenants - will be held at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury from 10am to 1pm on Saturday (8 September).
This is a chance for tenants and leaseholders to find out more and have their say about the council’s commitment to invest in housing and tenants now and in the future.
To book a place at the conference, please call 0121 569 5314 or email email@example.com
The borough’s 29,000 council properties are currently run by Sandwell Homes, at ‘arms length’ from the council. This management agreement was originally set to end in September 2014.
But the Government has now cut the Decent Homes programme of improvements, which was being carried out mainly by Sandwell Homes.
The council believes that money saved by returning the organisation to its control as soon as possible will mean more money for improving homes and will mean that the timescales for improving homes can be brought forward. There will also be more money for improving frontline services.
And the savings will form part of a new £490 million housing investment plan for Sandwell for the next 10 years, which will see significant improvements to homes and estates as well as new council houses built.
Sandwell Homes’ staff and services will return to the council’s direct control at the start of the New Year.
A 90-day consultation with trade unions is currently taking place and a project team has been set up to steer the successful return of staff and services.
The move follows an independently-led consultation in which two thirds of the 1,500 tenants who responded either supported or were neutral about the council’s proposals.
Councillor Simon Hackett, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Sandwell Homes has done some great work to improve housing over the years for thousands of tenants – and we thank the board, chair, employees, tenants and everyone involved.
“Now the time has come for us to find a new way to keep improving homes and services.
“With the Government having cut Decent Homes money, we need to make savings by avoiding duplication of services and management structures between Sandwell Homes and Sandwell Council. This money can then be ploughed back into improvements and frontline services.
“The consultation shows there is no significant opposition – and I can assure tenants we will be involving them throughout and listening to their views on options for the future. This includes Saturday's special conference.
"I would urge anyone who wants to find out more and have their say to book a place at Saturday's conference."
Councillor Hackett added: "Our 10-year investment programme is very exciting news for tenants - and will see us working to provide the next generation of good quality, warm and energy efficient homes for the future.
"For the first time in a generation the council will build new council houses year on year starting this current financial year.”