Portsmouth City Council council slammed for selling 8 social homes this year

A COUNCILLOR has criticised the sale of social homes in Portsmouth, claiming the local authority has ‘failed in its responsibility.’

By Fiona Callingham
Monday, 3rd August 2020, 5:26 pm
Cllr Cal Corkery claimed the council had 'failed in its responsibility' to maintain social homes. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Charles Dickens ward representative, Labour councillor Cal Corkery, is calling on a report detailing all recent sales of council properties to be heard in public after eight were sold this year.

Read More

Read More
‘Shocking’ figures show Portsmouth council’s social housing stock loss through ...

In a letter to Portsmouth City Council's housing cabinet member, Cllr Darren Sanders, he said: 'All of these properties appear to be two and three-bedroom family houses with gardens of the type in high demand by those needing to access social housing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

'At a time when the council has hundreds of homeless people accommodated in temporary accommodation, and thousands more families on the waiting list desperate for a move, it cannot be right for council homes to be sold off to property developers in this way. '

However, James Hill, the council's director of housing, said the sales came after the homes became too expensive to maintain.

He said: 'When properties become empty, we carry out a thorough evaluation to ensure they are suitable to continue to be used as council housing. There are on occasion properties that due to a variety of reasons, including building defects, do not pass this evaluation.

'At times the cost to make a property suitable is too high for the council to deliver. This was the case for the eight properties that went to auction. The funds from selling these properties will be put back into replacing the homes.'

But Cllr Corkery added: 'There is already a budget set aside for buying new properties but I understand those acquisitions are limited by a lack of suitable properties and staffing capacity.

'These houses that were recently sold were used as social housing for many years so the question for me is why they were allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair?

'The council seems to have failed in its responsibility to ensure its properties are maintained to a decent standard and is now using that as an excuse to sell them off on the cheap to property developers.'

The council currently owns 14,635 residential properties.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Thank you for reading this story. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on our advertisers and thus our revenues.

The News is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news and information online.

Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism and campaign on your behalf for our city.