Anger over sale of Malmesbury social homes stock

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: North Wiltshire MP James Gray has been asked to attend a meeting about affordable housing in and around Malmesbury North Wiltshire MP James Gray has been asked to attend a meeting about affordable housing in and around Malmesbury

Concerns have been raised over the lack of affordable housing in and around Malmesbury, as the GreenSquare Housing Association sells off properties.

Residents including Howard Harding called on GreenSquare, local MP James Gray and Wiltshire councillor John Thomson to attend a meeting in the British School Rooms tomorrow at 7pm to discuss fears.

Mr Harding, of North End Gardens, Sherston, is concerned that housing association homes are being sold off, when many people who qualify for the properties – elderly or disabled – are unable to remain in the area.

“There is an elderly couple living nearby, in their 80s, who are being evicted because the owner is selling up and GreenSquare can only offer them something in Calne or Devizes, rather than a local property,” said Mr Harding, 62, who lives with his disabled wife, Susan.

“The 84-year-old woman was born in Sherston and Green-Square has a house here, on sale at the moment. If you die or move out, the house will just go to the highest bidder, but there are people in this village who are desperate for something like this.

“This is a very quiet, residential area of Sherston and we are also concerned that it won’t be if just anyone can move in. These types of bungalows are built for disabled people or the elderly.”

Jenny Spoor, of GreenSquare, said: “A requirement of our current funding agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency is that our housing associations sell some of their existing properties to generate additional funding for new affordable homes to be built.

"This will mean we deliver over 700 modern high-quality affordable homes by 2015, the majority of which will be for rent.

“GreenSquare is also building many new homes for sale – and using profit from these to help fund more affordable homes.

“Only one property in North End Gardens has been part of this process and was offered for shared ownership; a further property is shortly becoming vacant and will be re-let for social rent.

"The other privately-owned properties in that area have been sold in the past as a result of ‘right to buy’ legislation over which GreenSquare – and Westlea Housing and North Wiltshire District Council before it – has no control.”

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