Wycombe District Council has been accused of “negligence on a grand scale” for selling off its housing stock to Red Kite for “just a few per cent of its value” – amid concerns that a flagship redevelopment plan has still not been completed, seven years after it was first discussed.

The district council sold off all its council housing stock to Red Kite Community Housing in 2011 – but their actions came under fire again at a full council meeting on December 10 from a member of public.

Addressing the council’s housing chief, Cllr Julia Langley, Downley resident Patrick Crotty asked what the council will do now that Red Kite is planning to sell some their assets through subsidiary companies, Pennvale and Twenty 11 – without having created the “overdue” Castlefield Star Block redevelopment.

The empty star blocks were first mooted for development in 2011 – and Red Kite plans to create 184 new homes on the site, but no work has yet started.

Cllr Langley said Red Kite is in the process of developing proposals to finally put forward a planning application for the site.

She added that the “extremely complex” transfer process was driven by strict government rules – and said they had “little to do with it”.

She said: “The two subsidiary companies you refer to are wholly owned by Red Kite, there are no shareholders who can take money out.

“Red Kite and Twenty 11 are both charitable purpose organisations, any surpluses generated has to be reinvested.

“They are a tax efficient means of ensuring any surplus generated can be returned to one of the charitable companies to use for its charitable purposes.

“Here at Wycombe District Council, members and officers are working with Red Kite with regard to their Twenty 11 pilot scheme and look forward to discussing the independent review of this pilot scheme with them in due course.

“The Castlefield Star Blocks scheme is a large project and not without risks. It is an ambitious scheme. Replacing 97 homes with 184 brand new ones is their biggest development scheme so far.”

Mr Crotty said that irrespective of the Star Block development, the 2011 deal leaves the district “poorer by hundreds of millions of pounds” and while it was a legal arrangement, said that the council had “behaved negligently on a grand scale”.

Cllr Langley did not appear to deny the claims, instead saying: “I think it is important to make it clear that since the transfer Wycombe District Council are not involved in the day to day business of Red Kite.

“Regular meetings take place with Red Kite which include the deputy leader Dominic Barnes, the cabinet member for planning David Johncock, myself and senior officers.”

Trevor Morrow, chief executive at Red Kite, said: “We can’t answer for the council, but we can say that voting for the transfer resulted in tenants receiving millions of pounds of investment in their homes to bring them up to, and keep them to, a modern standard.

“This is something the council could not have done owing to constraints on borrowing.

“Putting the decision to a vote of tenants and then seeing a majority decision though is in our view democratic, not negligent.

“We have an ambitious development programme to build 375 homes by 2023, providing a range of different tenure types of homes that meet people’s individual affordability.

“Homes that we build to sell will help subsidise homes for social and flexible rent - in that way, not only are we helping the whole community, but we are still able to build truly affordable homes for those that need them.”

He also confirmed that Red Kite will submit a planning application for the Star Blocks site before the end of the year – with work set to get underway in late 2019.

Mr Morrow added: “To deliver this scheme we require subsidy from other projects. If we were a commercial developer this scheme would not proceed as it makes a loss on the high volume of affordable homes.”