THE formation of a single housing authority for the south should be explored, agreed Castletown commissioners.
Commissioners’ chairman Kevin Weir, who, with commissioner Andrew Thomas, represents the authority at the meeting of Southern Local Authorities Group (SLAG), said that all the representatives on the the SLAG committee ‘are going back to their own boards [of commissioners] to see if they are in favour of one southern authority for housing’.
Mr Weir said: ‘If that is the case, we will go back to the next southern local authority housing meeting and if there is agreement, we will write to Mr Robertshaw, [Department of Social Care minister] and tell him we would like to have all the housing for the south.’
Affordable housing is presently allocated by each individual local authority.
For continuity, Mr Weir said that the boards’ current representatives should remain on this newly-formed SLAG housing committee. He asked that the board of Castletown Commissioners, last Monday, if it supported himself and Mr Thomas remaining as its representatives.
‘We are hoping to get things moving,’ he said. ‘They are beginning to move. In my opinion, we are making big strides.’
Commissioner Colin Leather said: ‘I’m against it – having one [housing authority] for the south.
‘Until I know the full details about how it will affect Castletown, I will not say yes or no.’
Mr Weir replied: ‘You are entitled to your opinion, but that makes Castletown very insular.
‘I have worked for the last nine months to get Castletown involved in everything that is going on, you can undo the last nine months’ work.’
Commissioners’ clerk Eddie Convery said: ‘This is not a done deal. This is to explore the possibility. If we do it, what format should it take?’
‘I do not mind us exploring it,’ said Mr Leather. ‘The message I was getting was it’s a done deal … we have got to protect our tenants and the people of Castletown to look after their interests.’
Mr Thomas asked: ‘Protect them from what? Can I have protection from everything for ever?’
Commissioner Alwyn Collister said one housing authority for the whole of the south is ‘a step too far’.
Mr Thomas proposed the group explores the formation of a single authority for the south and he was seconded by commissioner David Parnell.
The proposal was supported by the entire board except Mr Leather, who said: ‘I do not want someone from Castletown waiting for housing [in the town] and someone from Port Erin gets it.’
They all voted for Mr Weir and Mr Thomas to continue to represent the board at the SLAG.
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