Axe or cuts for Ashfield Homes

THE HEADQUARTERS of Ashfield Homes
THE HEADQUARTERS of Ashfield Homes

HOUSING chiefs are to publish a report detailing cost-cutting measures worth millions of pounds before a decision is made on the future of Ashfield Homes.

The Dispatch reported last month that the not-for-profit company, which manages Ashfield District Council’s housing stock in Hucknall, could be scrapped.

Councillors will now be asked to consider two options that will be laid out in the report, written by senior managers at Ashfield Homes and the council.

The first would see the council back in direct control of housing stock, with Ashfield Homes axed. Savings would be an estimated £3 million.

The other option is to allow Ashfield Homes to continue while cutting costs by about £2 million.

With this option, seven senior-management jobs would be put at risk where roles overlap between the council and Ashfield Homes.

Bill Buckley, interim head of health and housing for Ashfield Council, and Alex Rocke, interim head of housing for Ashfield Homes, called a Press conference in response to “rumour and speculation” regarding the fate of the housing service.

Tenants have expressed worries that the quality of the service would suffer if Ashfield Council took over.

But Mr Buckley says the council expected the service to continue improving no matter what the final outcome.

“This was a good service before the housing stock went under the control of Ashfield Homes and it has since improved,” he said. “The level of service would continue if it was brought back in-house.”

Mr Rocke said councillors would face a tough decision because Ashfield Homes had achieved top marks in two independent reports since it began trading in 2002.

Ashfield councillors were set to decide the fate of Ashfield Homes this month. But the decision has been put back until at least October.

Mr Buckley says the delay allows more time for consultation through questionnaires, focus groups and meetings.

The report will be published on Ashfield District Council’s website ahead of a council meeting on Tuesday June 28.