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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Town seeks housing crisis answers
Council housing Plas Madoc
Tenants on Plas Madoc estate were among those surveyed
Officers from Wrexham Council are to go to the Welsh Assembly Government for help in solving its housing crisis.

The authority says it does not have the 253m needed for improvements to reach an assembly government housing target by 2012.

Its tenants, who rejected a move out of authority control last year, have now said that they do not understand the council's money problems.

Officials said they needed government help to solve their housing problems.

Wrexham, along with the rest of Wales' 22 local authorities, has been asked to meet the assembly government's Welsh housing quality standard, which sets down modernisation targets, in seven years time.

It had recommended that its housing stock be transferred to a housing association but in a ballot last year almost 60% of its 11,000 tenants rejected the move.

TENANTS' SURVEY
Plas Madoc entrance sign
72% believed their property needs cash spending on it
73% said they understood the council needs 253m to bring homes up to standard by 2012
63% said staying with the council meant not getting improvements they need
59% believed their home was well managed by council

More than a year later, a survey of more than 1,400 tenants found that they still want their homes to remain in local authority ownership.

The survey's findings are to be discussed by the council's executive board before a delegation heads to Cardiff Bay for a meeting with minister Edwina Hart at the end of the month.

Fred Czulowski, Wrexham's Landlord Services Manager, said the research had shown them that if there was to be another ballot, the tenants would still say no to opting for a new landlords.

"It's an important message and something for us to take to the Welsh assembly and to say our tenants want to stay with the council," he said.

Among Welsh local authorities, so far only Wrexham has voted against transfer of the housing stock. Bridgend in south Wales voted for the move.

Andy Lewis, the council's chief housing and public protection officer, said: "We have a housing stock of 12,000 properties and we have to put together a business plan to improved those properties but were are not going to have the money," he said.

Confusion

Councillor Rodney Skelland, lead member for social affairs, health and housing, added: "While tenants accept that their properties need upgrading there is still some confusion as to where they believe that money would come from to undertake the necessary improvements".

Social Justice and Regeneration Minister Edwina Hart said the assembly government was waiting for Wrexham local authority to come forward with proposals to meet the new standard by 2012.

"Ultimately, councils will have to answer to their own tenants and explain why they are not providing them with what we regard as adequate housing for tenants across the rest of Wales," she added.


SEE ALSO:
Consultants move is criticised
13 Apr 04 |  North East Wales
Tenants reject homes transfer
12 Mar 04 |  Wales


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