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Neath Port Talbot Council transfers homes

Source: Insidehousing
09/03/11

BY EMILY TWINCH

Neath Port Talbot Council has transferred its stock to a housing association despite protests the move should be dropped following a freedom of information ruling.

The information commissioner told the council in January it should have handed over its 9,300 tenants’ addresses to anti-stock transfer campaigners.

The Defend Council Housing group wanted the information to write to the tenants putting its case before the stock transfer ballot ended on 16 March last year. Its members believed the information commissioner’s decision had ‘discredited’ the stock transfer.

But the council’s 9,207 homes were officially handed over to NPT Homes on Friday.

Ali Thomas, leader of the council, said: ‘The transfer to NPT Homes is the most significant change to take place in the history of council housing in Neath Port Talbot and the former boroughs.’

NPT Homes will invest 220 million to bring the homes up to the Welsh housing quality standard over six years. Nearly 400 council staff have also transferred to the housing association.

Huw Pudner, spokesperson for NPT Defend Council Housing campaign, said: ‘The stock transfer of thousands of council homes in Neath and Port Talbot has gone ahead in the dodgiest of circumstances.

‘The information commissioner has recently made an important ruling against the council for refusing to provide the local Defend Council Housing campaign with its housing “list”.

‘But the council has steamed ahead regardless of the law and the democratic procedures.’

Nearly 57 per cent of the council’s tenants voted in favour of transfer, with a turnout of just under 62 per cent.