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Arms Length or Stock Transfer? The future for Council Ho


Cllr Paul Kenny
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Next week the Lib Dem/Tory cabinet will discuss the options available to the council for the future of the circa 9,000 council homes currently under the management of the arms length organisation Golden Gates Housing (GGH). Visit my blog to download the council report in full.

 

Thanks to Labour ?65million has been invested in meeting the decent homes standard over a 4 year period. Indeed it was the previous Labour administration that set up GGH.

 

Despite this success story the housing service faces financial pressures not least rising tenant aspirations and the loss of revenue from right to buy sales which has seen a net loss of nearly a quarter of the stock in the last decade alone.

 

Proponents of Stock Transfer will highlight the increased investment that this option could bring in realising tenant aspirations and also in new build for rent but this comes at a cost. Visit http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/ for further details.

 

There are now a number of local authorities in the country who have balloted tenants and have lost the vote to transfer. The so called 4th option - which Defend Council Housing lobby for is still not favoured by the government leaving Warrington with a major decision which will affect generations to come.

 

A decision is not expected till later this year - a Housing Options Panel will be called to look at the options available to the council and will be asked to make a recommendation to council.

 

However, the Warrington Lib Dems were enthusiastic supporters of stock transfer at the time GGH was formed and I am not aware of any change in their policy since then.

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Paul,

 

when will the bloody councillors in this town realise that most people are not interested in the petty "liberals did this" and "tories did that"?

 

All we want is what is best for the residents of the town and since Labour lost control all we have had is petty back biting and name calling from one lot to the other lot.

 

It is childish and stupid and the lot of you want to grow up and actually worry about the towns future and work together to sort out the issues that actually matter. Gangs of feral kids running wild on the streets, masses of bloody traffic lights springing up everywhere causing mayhem and yet once again we have an increase in councillors expenses and an increase in poll tax to cover it all.

 

The national politics is rife with corruption and sleaze with one lot paying their kids to go to University and get drunk (according to their BEBO site) and the other lot with members doing the "oh, I never noticed that one hundred thousand pounds before" routine

 

We have a town which has seen countless instances of drink related violence and murder over the past few years which ties up all of the available Police cover for virtually the whole weekend and a council that seems to be more interested in raising revenue by allowing as many bars to open in the town as possible. This is Warrington, not Benidorm for gods sake

 

[ 30.01.2008, 21:32: Message edited by: BazJ ]

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Peter - No not yet. The process is just starting although it must be pointed out the decision about future management arrangements rests with the council not the GGH Board.

 

BazJ - whilst it may appear to you as 'childish and stupid' most decisions taken at the Town Hall receive the support of all the parties. Off course, when we disagree this tends to make the headlines in the local media.

 

I certainly believe that the current administration at the Town Hall have the best interests of Warrington at heart as do the opposition but that should never stop challenge, scrutiny and disagreement. It is fundamental in a democratic institution that alternative views can be put forward.

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Paul,

 

I would somewhat disagree with your last statement because events in the past few years would dictate otherwise.

 

Once councillors are elected (and forgive me if I am generalising) but it appears that common sense seems to disappear and the party line suddenly appears in its place. Nothing that the opposing side does is a good idea and if it is, the other side claim it was their idea in the first place!!

 

There are countless things that we; the paying public, are always up in arms against but these are always things that never seem to get sorted.

 

There is damage on a somewhat epic scale in the town to such simple things as bus shelters but as far as I am aware there hasn't been one case of anyone being done for criminal damage... drunken youths abound and still we allow (or the council does at any rate) more and more drinking establishments to open and indeed more off licenses are opened to fuel the idiots before they go into town...

 

nothing ever appears to be done until Sky News happen along and depict the town as some form of hell on earth "and this is a quiet night" I believe was said by the reporter... how does that make you as a representitive of the town feel? I know as a resident it bloody angers me to know that all of our police are sat in vans in the town centre waiting for trouble instead of catching the vandals, burglars and muggers that seem to thrive in the rest of the town.

 

We waste countles thousands on such mundane things as the traffic lights at Westbrook. An admirable cause to allow people to cross the road, but when there are so many combinations of lights to cycle through, the bloody pedestrians just run across when there is a gap anyway, and all the traffic backs up because of all the button pressing done by the pedestrians who are already half way round asda by then!

 

Thousands of pounds on the lights at LA Bowl. Installed in November; 3 months ago, and still not switched on. All the lanes are marked and signs are up, but no lights... more waste... Committees organised with the express purpose of increasing costs (or so it seems at this end) The services we get as council taxpayers get worse year on year and yet we have to pay more every year for them..... how do you justify that Paul?

 

And as a final point, it doesn't go unreported when all parties agree on something; so maybe if you all started to agree on things like effective ways to rid the town of the feral menace that it seems to be gripped by at the moment and put some order back in place, the residents may start to appreciate the other works you all do. Unfortunately at the moment, that isn't the case and recent events do not bode well for the future!

 

[ 31.01.2008, 09:44: Message edited by: BazJ ]

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BazJ

 

Traffic Lights at Westbrook - Agree. An example of the relevant portfolio holder and local councillors not holding highway officers to account.

 

Bus Shelters - I seem to recall that there have been cases brought against individuals caught damaging shelters (CCTV evidence).

 

LA Bowl - I will try to find out what has happened here and get back to you.

 

Alcohol fuelled crime as per Sky report - Action needs to be proportionate. I would support reducing the number of licensed premises and increase the duty (significantly) on certain brands (strong alcohol content). Greater use of fixed penalty notices and action against parents of U18s. Off course the rights of the law abiding majority also have to be considered hence the phrase 'proportionate'.

 

This post is actually about housing - I am not quite sure why we have ended up with 2 posts. can the moderators merge the two?

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Paul,

 

thank you for your replies.... as for it being a housing post; thats forums for you!

 

I am not quite au fait with your response about the Westbrook lights.... who is actually the responsible party (as in person not tory, labour etc) for them being there in the first place?

 

Bus shelters are another bone of contention, my dear old mum lives in Bewsey and often gets the bus into town and always goes on about vandalism to these things. Glass everywhere etc. Now I know Adshel do a good job when it comes to clearing them up fast, but surely there is still an issue and surely whatever punishments are being given to those caught is not enough to discourage others? The ones near the Westbrook cinema where I live are always smashed.... what is it with kids these days? and what sentences have been handed out to those caught? is it the community sleep over order or a proper custodial lock up?

 

I await the LA bowl answer with interest!!

 

As for proportionate action against the bars in town... a few premises have closed recently (Brannigans being one I noticed!) however, if these places have licenses already, how easy is it to revoke them?

 

As for an increase in duty on strong alchoholic drinks; that would give Darling & Brown even more of the publics cash to fritter away so not sure on that one. If we have so many cops in town, why not stick one outside each pub? They have the means and ability to check a persons identity and can lock them up overnight if they attempt to get into a pub....

 

Regards

 

[ 01.02.2008, 09:24: Message edited by: BazJ ]

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Originally posted by Jacko:

I would also like to hear the councillors response to Baz's questions. He had the courtesy to respond in a civilised manner to the councillors post, it would be fitting if there could be some reciprocation. ie manners please

Do cllrs reciprocate? :confused:
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BazJ - I now understand (from council officers)that the Cromwell Ave/Calder Rd junction is provisionally timetabled for switch-on on 7th February.

 

The delay has been caused by Christmas traffic flows (officers thought it unwise to commission during this period), and arranging the go-live date with external engineers & suppliers.

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Originally posted by Cllr Paul Kenny:

BazJ - I now understand (from council officers)that the Cromwell Ave/Calder Rd junction is provisionally timetabled for switch-on on 7th February.

 

The delay has been caused by Christmas traffic flows (officers thought it unwise to commission during this period), and arranging the go-live date with external engineers & suppliers.

Oh boy, Thanks Paul... I had hoped they had decided not to switch them on. Hope the council is prepared for the back up of traffic in all directions!!
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Obs...

 

it was really only a matter of time before Labour were found out. Power corrupts. It happened to the tories in the 90's where they thought they were untouchable and it is happening to Labour now. They have had a few massive majorities where there was no touching them and they think that applies to everything they do. They were unopposable but now the the number two man is in charge things have rapidly fallen apart. He has aligned himself with a bunch of useless fools that make up the cabinet in an attempt to make himself look better and it is not working.

 

Did you ever expect to see the day when Labour would be out torying the tories when it comes to kicking the least well off in society and at the same time encouraging all the foreigners to come over and make sure there are even fewer jobs for the indiginous population to do?

 

I'm going to put a tenner on Labour having less seats than the Lib Dems after the next election!! :D

 

[ 05.02.2008, 00:07: Message edited by: BazJ ]

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