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NOTTINGHAM TENANTS VOTE FOR ALMO

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Nottingham's council house tenants have voted in favour of setting up a new organisation to manage council house se...
Nottingham's council house tenants have voted in favour of setting up a new organisation to manage council house services on behalf of the city council by a resounding 76.03 per cent.

A total of 14,846 council tenants and leaseholders took part in the ballot asking for their views on establishing an arms-length management organisation made up of councillors, tenants' representatives and independent professional, with 11,287 voting yes.

Nottingham's 40 per cent turn out puts it in line with the turn out from other cities with similar large housing estates and number of council houses.

Tenants had three weeks in which to make up their minds. The poll closed on Monday. A total of 37,539 tenants and leaseholders were eligible to vote, with 13,924 voting by post, 762 via the free telephone voting number and 331 on the internet. There were 171 spoilt ballot papers. The ballot was organised by the Electoral Reform Services.

The government announced last week that at least£133 million would be made available to modernise Nottingham's council houses and flats if a new management organisation was established and the final figure could be as high as£165m.

The results of the ballot will now go to councillors for a decision. If an Almo was established it would take over the day-to-day running of the housing services for the council. Existing housing department staff would work for the new organisation under the direction of the board. Council houses would still be owned by the City Council which would continue as landlord, set rents and uphold the rights of tenants but the Almo would attract funds from the Government to improve council houses and estates.

Nottingham City Council needs an extra£165m to ensure that its 32,000 council homes meet the government's Decent Homes standards by the target date of 2010. Works may include modern bathrooms and kitchens, improved heating and insulation.

Nottingham City Council's executive board member for housing, Dave Trimble, and the council's corporate director of housing, Lynne Pennington, had repeatedly urged all tenants to use their vote.

'The proposal to set up an arms length management organisation is probably the most important decision that has ever faced tenants and leaseholders of the city council. We are satisfied that our turnout is in line with councils similar to our own and the vote is overwhelmingly in favour of setting up an Almo,' Ms Pennington said.

Mr Trimble said: 'We are determined to achieve the final hurdle which is a 2* performance rating for our housing services and all our efforts now will be directed at that.'

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