December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
A housing association has defended its policy of selling off homes as efforts are stepped up to boost affordable housing in north Norfolk.
Victory Housing Trust says that since it was launched in February 2006, it has only sold 18 of its 5,000 stock on the open market, with all proceeds ploughed back into providing better-quality affordable homes.
Victory’s policy has come under fire from Liberal Democrat councillors representing North Walsham where Victory is currently considering whether to put 20 Fairview Road up for sale.
The house has three bedrooms and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) figures show that 157 people on the housing register have expressed an interest in a three-bedroomed home in North Walsham.
Peter Moore told NNDC’s cabinet that while Victory continued to sell off homes, any district council efforts on housing were being countered by a “drain open at the other end.”
NNDC initiatives include launching a new policy aimed at bringing more than 800 long term empty homes back into occupation, and changes to the housing allocation rules to give higher priority to local people.
A Victory spokesman told the News that any empty home was assessed to see whether it was still suitable and energy efficient. Those that were not, and which would be too costly to bring up to standard, might be put up for sale.
The spokesman added that Victory had built far more new homes than it had sold. Since February 2006, 319 homes had been built, 137 were in progress and a further 122 were in the pipeline.
But Mr Moore’s fellow North Walsham district councillors, Vivienne Uprichard and Eric Seward, are also opposed to Victory’s policy.
Mr Seward said none of the 16 Victory homes nearly finished in Hall Lane, North Walsham, nor any of the 15 planned for the former Mundesley Road Howard’s coachworks site would have three bedrooms.
“If they are not going to build new three bedroomed-homes, why are they selling them off?” he asked.
He and Mrs Uprichard were dealing with cases of acute housing need where families were suffering from severe overcrowding or facing eviction.