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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Council housing pack 'misleading'
Crawley town centre
Council homes in Crawley are staying under local authority control
A complaint over a Sussex council's promotion of a proposed housing stock transfer has been partly upheld.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said elements of a newsletter and DVD published by Crawley Borough Council could have misled tenants.

Two out of four separate points made in the complaint were upheld.

The council said it was "baffled and disappointed" by the ruling, as it felt the newsletter and DVD had been approved through the right channels.

From 2005 to early 2007 the local authority investigated the feasibility of transferring its stock of council homes to the control of a housing association.

It included consulting with tenants over a possible ballot.

'Checked and approved'

A newsletter headlined "Council faces 12m shortfall to reach Decent Homes Standard (DHS)" said the Crawley authority would not be able to meet a 60m figure which it claimed was the minimum spend required on housing stock by 2010.

But the ASA upheld a complaint that this figure was misleading, because it included future maintenance costs beyond DHS guidance.

A second point of complaint concerned a promotional DVD which questioned the reliability of other information being disseminated at the time by the Defend Council Housing group.

The ASA concluded the material "unfairly denigrated" the aims of the group, which campaigned against the housing transfer.

Two further parts of the complaint were not upheld - one concerning claims about opposition groups in the newsletter, and the other about the housing association's predicted revenue.

Crawley council said: "We're baffled because everything was checked and approved by the relevant parties in line with government guidelines."

Plans for a ballot over a proposed transfer were shelved in January, and the council said it was now concentrating on "a major programme of improvements... to help us meet the Decent Homes Standard".


SEE ALSO
Council turns down housing ballot
10 Jan 07 |  Southern Counties
Housing budget shortfall '12m'
23 Oct 06 |  Southern Counties
Council 'could transfer housing'
14 Jun 06 |  Southern Counties
Row over council housing future
16 Jun 05 |  Southern Counties

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