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LIVERPOOL VOTES 'YES' FOR HOMES TRANSFER

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Liverpool City Council tenants in the east of the city have voted a resounding 'yes' to transfer approximately 13,5...
Liverpool City Council tenants in the east of the city have voted a resounding 'yes' to transfer approximately 13,500 council homes to registered social landlords.

The ballot, which got an average 77% yes vote in the Eastern Fringe, will now lead to a potential£600m investment programme in Liverpool over the next 30 years.

The vote will now see homes transferred to three new not-for-profit housing associations - Berrybridge Housing Association, Lee Valley Housing Association and Cobalt Housing.

Tenants were balloted over the transfer in three areas of the Eastern Fringe - north, central and south.

- In the North, 3,468 tenants (66.4%) in the Croxteth, Gilmoss, Fazakerly, Norris Green and Sparrow Hall areas, voted yes to transfer to Cobalt Housing. The turnout was 65%.

- In the Central area, 2,429 tenants (87.8%) in the Deysbrook, Dovecot North, Dovecot South, Princess/Cantril areas, voted yes to transfer to Berrybridge Housing. The turnout was 65.6%.

- In the South area, 1,823 tenants (78.5%)in the Belle Vale, Naylorsfield, Childwall/Harstbourne, Lee Park and Netherley areas voted yes to transfer to Lee Valley Housing Association. The turnout was 68.2%.

A total of 10,311 votes were cast in the last three weeks. The ballot closed at midday on Friday. A total of 15,723 tenants were eligible to vote and receive ballot papers.

The 'yes' votes totalled 7,720. The 'no' votes totalled 2,591 - a majority of 5,109. There were 46 spoilt ballot papers in total.

The results of the ballot, conducted by The Electoral Reform Ballot Services on behalf of Liverpool City Council, now gives the go-ahead for a multi-million pound investment and refurbishment programme for homes in all the areas.

Richard Kemp, executive member for housing, hailed the result as the biggest boost to housing in Liverpool in 50 years.

He said: 'Across the Eastern Fringe this vote will now unlock£150m of much needed investment to provide residents with the decent standards of accommodation and a quality of life they deserve. By voting yes tenants have made it clear that they want to see real improvement - it is now up to everyone involved to make sure that happens. Tenants are not interested in a debate about who does what - they just want it done.'

Mike Storey, leader of the council, added: 'This is a great result for Liverpool's tenants in the eastern fringe. Transfer was the only way to bring about the improvements that tenants need and deserve. They have now told us in no uncertain terms to get on with it. The city council will now be working very closely with the new housing associations to ensure that a much higher standard of services are delivered to tenants throughout the area.'

The transfer is now subject to successful negotiations and agreement with the housing associations and final approval by the secretary of state for the environment. If approved the handover will take place in the autumn.

Deborah Shackleton, chief executive, The Riverside Group which is the parent company of both Berrybridge and Lee Valley Housing, said: 'Riverside are delighted that tenants have chosen us as their partner to help improve their homes and communities. This is just the start of the hard work for the estates, but we are confident that we can jointly make a difference to the quality of people's lives and living conditions.

David Lambert, of LHT who is also acting chief executive of Colbalt Housing, said: 'We are delighted that tenants have voted for stock transfer in such significant numbers. This is only the beginning. Now we have to deliver the improvements they want to see, and keep listening to their views.'

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