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Campaigners appeal against Neath ballot.

Source: Insidehousing
06/08/10

BY GENE ROBERTSON

Anti-stock transfer campaigners in Neath Port Talbot are appealing against a tenant ballot after the council was found to have wrongly withheld key information.

A preliminary decision issued by the information commissioner said that Neath Port Talbot Council should have released the addresses of the 9,300 homes it wanted to transfer to new housing association NPT homes.

Huw Pudner of the Defend Council Housing campaign made a freedom of information request to the council prior to the ballot as he wanted to mailshot the homes with details of the ‘no’ campaign.

After five months, the council told campaigners that it could not supply the list of addresses. The council then won the ballot in March after a 6 million campaign, with 56 per cent of tenants voting for the new housing association.

But the information commissioner has now written to Mr Pudner stating that the council should have supplied the addresses. A final decision from the information commissioner is expected in the next fortnight.

DCH members now plan to demand that the council carries out a new ballot of tenants.

Mr Pudner said: ‘We think that the consultation process was totally flawed. We were not able to put a ‘no’ argument to tenants. All I asked for was the addresses, not the names.’

Robert Rees, head of housing services at the council, said: ‘The council has put forward a strong argument that important issues of data protection and human rights must be a major consideration in determining this case.’