Housing decisions

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PROF Tony Crook (Jan 24) pointed out the real facts that help tenants towards the decisions that will have to be made in the forthcoming ballot. But it makes sense in what Coun Harry Harpham stated as to why the council wants to take back control of housing.

What cost the 15 directors of Sheffield Homes? The number one priority for the council is to save money but also to put complete control of housing in the hands of elected councillors, who are accountable to taxpayers.

Stan Bradbury, High Green

One of the most important decisions for some time is being put before tenants, to vote as to whether they wish council housing to be managed by the Town Hall or by an Almo, similar to Sheffield Homes.

I went to the last public meeting organised by the Town Hall at Norton. There was one tenant. I even went to the first public meeting, which was organised at Langsett where there were three tenants.

If this is an indication of the efficiency and ability of the Town Hall to connect with the public and advise tenants of the pros and cons of the situation, it does not augur well for the its ability to efficiently run the housing service.

The great advantage of Sheffield Homes is that overall policy is set by the democratically elected councillors, but the actual running of the housing service and its day to day operation is controlled by the Almo where there are numerous committees upon which tenants either have a majority or a very large minority stake.

If the service is taken back into the Town Hall then control, both policy and operation, is directly in the hands of the councillors and town hall officers. Tenants will be consulted, of course, but consultation must not be confused with decision-making.

On what is currently available, tenants will be best advised to vote to stick with the Almo for running the operational side of council housing rather than let the Town Hall do it, as was the case prior to 2004. Do tenants remember what the housing service was like in those days?

Brian Wrigley, Sheffield