ONCHAN Commissioners say they should continue to run public sector housing in their area.
The board issued a statement after the government began a review into social housing.
Commissioners’ chairman Robin Turton said: ‘Onchan has not drawn on the government deficiency payment for its general housing stock for many years, and has one of the lowest claims for its sheltered housing .
‘We have no need to increase our housing rents at present as we are demonstrating a cost-effective supply of services within our budget.’
Island-wide there is a growing £7m deficit on public sector housing, although Onchan hasn’t added to that.
Mr Turton added: ‘As a housing authority we have always been aware of the need to continually maintain and upgrade our stock. We are well over halfway through a major refurbishment scheme on 118 houses costing nearly £4.5 million, and are just starting on a further scheme to replace nearly 400 domestic gas boilers with the most up-to-date and cost-efficient units for the benefit of our tenants.
‘There are ideas in the housing review that merit further development, but the amalgamation of social housing into centrally-run island-wide service is not one of them. It does not fit in with the proposals from other government ministers to devolve the provision of more services to local authorities, and has no quantified benefits to support it.
‘To alter what works well would only be detrimental to our tenants and those on our waiting lists. We in Onchan are happy to work with both central government and other authorities to help them provide an efficient service, but this should not be at the cost of reducing our provision to those in our district who need it most.’
Onchan has 394 units of general housing stock and 100 units of sheltered accommodation. It is currently the third largest local authority provider of general housing, and second largest for sheltered accommodation.
Last week, Douglas Council suggested it wanted more control over its council housing, including the ability to set rents.
Would it be more sensible and efficient to centralise public housing? Write to us at Opinions, Isle of Man Examiner, Peel Road Douglas IM1 5PZ email opinions(at)newsiom.co.im or sign in to add your comment below.
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