Wealden Councillors criticise Governments proposed ‘Right to Buy’ scheme


Wealden’s Cabinet has raised concerns about the effect the Government’s proposed Right to Buy policy will have on social housing in the north of the District.

HouseCouncil Leader Bob Standley highlighted the risk it could pose to Wealden’s latest council house developments, Evelyn Clark Square in Forest Row and Bracken Close in Crowborough:

These new homes are state of the art when it comes to energy efficiency and provide social rented housing in areas which have high house prices.

Under new Right to Buy proposals, we will be forced to sell our most expensive properties when they become vacant in order to compensate housing associations for their Right to Buy sales.  I think the policy has been ill thought out and is illogical. Together with other local housing authorities and the Local Government Association, we have raised our concerns with the Government.

Cllr Graham Wells, Portfolio Holder for Housing, expressed his concern that the policy would lead to a reduction in social housing particularly in the north of the District:

Whilst supporting the Right to Buy, selling council-owned housing to compensate Registered Social Landlords for discounts they have to offer is unfair to those councils, such as Wealden, that have retained their own housing stock and offer good services to their tenants.

This policy could lead to a shortage of affordable rented housing in the north of Wealden, as well as in villages throughout the District where 3 and 4 bedroom properties which are available to rent are incredibly scarce.

Wealden continues to exceed targets when it comes to providing affordable housing.  Last year, through permissions granted and its own council house building scheme, 193 new affordable homes were completed in Wealden. These included 43 built by the Council, 28 of them in Forest Row.

The Council has built 64 new council homes in the past two years as part of a £7.7 million investment programme.

Under ‘Right To Buy’ legislation, which is expected to form part of a new Housing Bill this September, the Government plans to give housing association tenants the opportunity to buy their own home.  They will get a discount of up to 70% – bringing them on a par with the benefits already enjoyed by council tenants across the country.

To compensate housing associations for having to sell their houses at below market value, local authorities will be required to sell their most expensive properties as they become vacant and transfer the proceeds over to the housing associations.

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