Council denies claims it has 'broken promises' on affordable housing

Cllr John Gibbs

Linda Derrick

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A COUNCIL has denied claims it has broken a promise to invest in affordable housing following the sale of council homes to Red Kite.

Linda Derrick, a member of the Wycombe Labour group, accused Wycombe District Council of using the £18.5m from the sale of its council housing to Red Kite on projects such as the Handy Cross Hub.

She said WDC had pledged to make affordable housing a key priority following the sale in December 2011 and had gone back on its promise after seemingly not reinvesting any of the receipts into affordable homes.

Cllr John Gibbs, WDC’s Cabinet member for Community, denied the claim and said the council had always stated the cash would be used to benefit the wider community, such as major projects.

Cllr Ian Bates, Leader of the Wycombe Labour Group, said: “We suspected WDC would break its promise to council tenants once the sale had gone through and thought little of the £18.5 million would get spent on affordable housing.

“But we are dismayed that not one penny, as far as we can understand, has been spent on affordable housing – and there are no plans to spend the £18.5 million on affordable housing in the foreseeable future.

“What can you say about a Tory council that made promises to council tenants to spend the money on affordable housing to persuade them to vote for the sale – and then deliberately breaks its promise and spends the money on something else?

“Would you believe anything this Tory council promises in future? There are thousands of families in Wycombe who need affordable housing.

"That £18.5m could have helped. Now it is gone. It’s a disgrace.”

Cllr Gibbs, hit back saying the housing transfer document clearly stated receipts from the sale were intended to benefit the wider community.

Cllr Gibbs pointed out WDC had delivered 128 affordable homes since the Red Kite sale and 56 had been found in the current financial year with the council working to secure more with landlords.

WDC holds £1.8m in Section 106 funds which had been earmarked for affordable housing. The pot has been boosted by £800,000 following the sale of four properties in Benjamin Road, he added.

He said: “We have not broken any of our promises. We remain strongly committed to providing affordable homes.

"The council’s position was clearly stated in the Cabinet report ahead of transfer that the balance of the receipt was intended for the benefit of the wider community.

"This was highlighted in the housing transfer offer document which went to every tenant.

“The council has kept its promise and fully allocated the net receipt to a range of schemes contained in our approved Major Projects Programme.”

Comments (5)

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10:15am Thu 6 Mar 14

sparky49 says...

Is anyone surprised. Raising housing prices (7.6 %) nationally in the last 12 months, wait for the bubble to burst and negative equity followed by homelessness and WDC legally bound to house families then having to pay high rents to private landlords as there is no available social housing, and they would be using council tax payers money.
The lip service given to social housing from all governments since 1979 is nothing more than snobbery.
We now have people forced into mortages and high rents, crippling childcare costs (in some cases higher than the mortage) leaving families with very little or no disposable income.
Part of this problem has been fed by the greed of people owning more than 1 home and charging sky high rents on the other.
In the long term younger people will not be able to afford to live and their will be no social housing which will push private rents higher.
Somebody needs to open their eyes and accept that social housing has a place in society and is not a dirty word.
I accept that there are some tenants that would abuse the system, but you will always find that whatever you provide. A small % do not care.
You only have to look at the Germans and the Dutch with their approach to housing, it is cheaper and they have more disposable income which in turn helps the economy thrive.
In this country people are in so much debt because of high housing costs that they are literally struggling to keep their heads above water. When interest rates raise so will morgtage rates along with repossessions.
I hate to say it but we are heading blindly into a MAJOR HOUSING CRISIS.
Is anyone surprised. Raising housing prices (7.6 %) nationally in the last 12 months, wait for the bubble to burst and negative equity followed by homelessness and WDC legally bound to house families then having to pay high rents to private landlords as there is no available social housing, and they would be using council tax payers money. The lip service given to social housing from all governments since 1979 is nothing more than snobbery. We now have people forced into mortages and high rents, crippling childcare costs (in some cases higher than the mortage) leaving families with very little or no disposable income. Part of this problem has been fed by the greed of people owning more than 1 home and charging sky high rents on the other. In the long term younger people will not be able to afford to live and their will be no social housing which will push private rents higher. Somebody needs to open their eyes and accept that social housing has a place in society and is not a dirty word. I accept that there are some tenants that would abuse the system, but you will always find that whatever you provide. A small % do not care. You only have to look at the Germans and the Dutch with their approach to housing, it is cheaper and they have more disposable income which in turn helps the economy thrive. In this country people are in so much debt because of high housing costs that they are literally struggling to keep their heads above water. When interest rates raise so will morgtage rates along with repossessions. I hate to say it but we are heading blindly into a MAJOR HOUSING CRISIS. sparky49
  • Score: 8

11:10am Thu 6 Mar 14

MunsterX says...

I enjoyed your post Sparky.

Whatever the official stats say, not many people have been moving house over the past five years so any headline price increases recently are based on very low property turnover with in particular a disproportionate influence from Central London and overseas investors.

The real property inflation took place in the period 1991-2008, in which period basic flats quadrupled in price (£25k to £100k in Central Wycombe) and detached homes tripled (£130k to £400k in Central Wycombe).

The only two countries where the property price increases of the above 17 year period have not been wiped out in a crash are Canada and UK, due to the corrupt interest rate setting regime in both countries. The UK central bank recently hired in Carney from Canada to keep the model going over here!

The turning point in the UK will be when the truely moribund nature of our housing market is finally acknowledged. In fact, person to person house sales are at LESS THAN 10% of where they were ten years ago in 2004, but our government will massage those figures by including in the figures the sale of non-selling new build estates direct from a housebuilder to a housing association or local authority.

Our government has been misleading us for many years and propping up prices with all manner of collusion and dishonest practice. Did you know for example that WDC has effectively propped up two major developments in Wycombe with the help of Central Government cash? Why is that when you go up to the new-build site at the old Wellesbourne School that the developer is still trying to sell you a 1500sqft 4 bedroom detached home for £400k (you know, one of those homes that we all know is actually worth only £250k!) when it has been on the market at that price for two goddam years? How is it that the price did not HAVE to come down to reflect what people are actually willing to pay? Answers on a postcode please to WDC....
I enjoyed your post Sparky. Whatever the official stats say, not many people have been moving house over the past five years so any headline price increases recently are based on very low property turnover with in particular a disproportionate influence from Central London and overseas investors. The real property inflation took place in the period 1991-2008, in which period basic flats quadrupled in price (£25k to £100k in Central Wycombe) and detached homes tripled (£130k to £400k in Central Wycombe). The only two countries where the property price increases of the above 17 year period have not been wiped out in a crash are Canada and UK, due to the corrupt interest rate setting regime in both countries. The UK central bank recently hired in Carney from Canada to keep the model going over here! The turning point in the UK will be when the truely moribund nature of our housing market is finally acknowledged. In fact, person to person house sales are at LESS THAN 10% of where they were ten years ago in 2004, but our government will massage those figures by including in the figures the sale of non-selling new build estates direct from a housebuilder to a housing association or local authority. Our government has been misleading us for many years and propping up prices with all manner of collusion and dishonest practice. Did you know for example that WDC has effectively propped up two major developments in Wycombe with the help of Central Government cash? Why is that when you go up to the new-build site at the old Wellesbourne School that the developer is still trying to sell you a 1500sqft 4 bedroom detached home for £400k (you know, one of those homes that we all know is actually worth only £250k!) when it has been on the market at that price for two goddam years? How is it that the price did not HAVE to come down to reflect what people are actually willing to pay? Answers on a postcode please to WDC.... MunsterX
  • Score: 2

2:19pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Bartholomew HuckleBerry says...

Has this disgraceful Tory party ever kept to any promise or pledges it made to come into power. All their votes were gained on the back of misleading and lies and scaremongering ! Now that they are in power once again, they do as they please. WDC has wasted and plundered our money to reward themselves with highly paid jobs and awards which are all agreed amongst its closed and secret back-room deals whilst profiting as well. The Tories and the WDC leaders are all crooked !
Has this disgraceful Tory party ever kept to any promise or pledges it made to come into power. All their votes were gained on the back of misleading and lies and scaremongering ! Now that they are in power once again, they do as they please. WDC has wasted and plundered our money to reward themselves with highly paid jobs and awards which are all agreed amongst its closed and secret back-room deals whilst profiting as well. The Tories and the WDC leaders are all crooked ! Bartholomew HuckleBerry
  • Score: -3

11:46pm Thu 6 Mar 14

faircuppa says...

Was it not the Labour group who voted for the transfer?
F. Cuppa
Was it not the Labour group who voted for the transfer? F. Cuppa faircuppa
  • Score: 5

9:47am Fri 7 Mar 14

sparky49 says...

faircuppa wrote:
Was it not the Labour group who voted for the transfer?
F. Cuppa
They did not disagree with it, and that is the point I am making. We are all pawns and no party cares about the voter.
I agree with with Huckleberry's comments, however WDC will always be Blue hence they do what they want as they are safer than a virgin in a convent.
[quote][p][bold]faircuppa[/bold] wrote: Was it not the Labour group who voted for the transfer? F. Cuppa[/p][/quote]They did not disagree with it, and that is the point I am making. We are all pawns and no party cares about the voter. I agree with with Huckleberry's comments, however WDC will always be Blue hence they do what they want as they are safer than a virgin in a convent. sparky49
  • Score: 3

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