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Call for council house tenants ballot
7:00pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in Local news
An Otley & Yeadon councillor is calling for council house tenants to be given a vote on how their homes are managed.
Due to funding cuts and changes to national policies, Leeds City Council is currently reviewing how it manages its housing stock.
One option is to scrap the existing arms-length management arrangement – which sees West North West Homes Leeds control council-owned properties in Wharfedale and Aire-borough – and take the service back in-house.
With such potentially major changes on the horizon, Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) says it is vital tenants are given a say.
He said: “If the council wants to fundamentally change how it manages its houses, it must get the backing of the people who live in them.
“Councillor Peter Gruen (Lab, Cross Gates & Whin-moor) refused to offer a ballot of tenants at last week’s executive board meeting. I think this is a mistake.
“I agree it is sensible to review the current housing management arrangements but, if we want tenants to have confidence in the system, we need to ask them what they want.
“Tenants have been balloted in the past when similar proposals were made so I am not asking for anything out of the ordinary. Turnout in the most recent ballot was higher than this year’s local elections, so tenants clearly care about the issue.
“I hope this does not signal a return to the bad old days of a top-down, ‘council knows best’ service that is remote from tenants and does not respond to their needs.”
Coun Gruen, the city council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, plan-ning and support services, has said tenants will be consulted on the changes.