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Consultants to do more work on Shropshire council housing sell-off review

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

Consultants asked to look at the possibility of selling more then 4,000 council homes in Shropshire have been commissioned to do more work on their review.

Property firm Savills have been asked by Shropshire Council to review "future options" for its housing stock, currently managed by STAR Housing and based in Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

Previous Council leader Malcolm Pate authorised the review of the stock, which is worth millions of pounds, and said that all options were being considered.

An initial report was completed earlier this year but it has now emerged that the council has requested more work from Savills, which it says will take another six months to complete.

The council has also moved to reassure tenants of the homes, insisting their properties are not at risk.

Councillor Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s deputy cabinet member for housing, said: “We are continuing our work with property expert, Savills to ensure that we have enough of the right housing for the people of Shropshire, both now and in the future.

“This work is expected to take around six months to complete.

“We know that our tenants' homes are important to them and we want to reassure them that their homes are not at risk. We are committed to keeping tenants up to date and will be writing to them shortly.”

No details of the council's initial report have been revealed, with the authority saying it will be subject to a formal report to be consider by cabinet members at a future date.

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Last month the council said that a valuation of the homes of around £180 million does not reflect the amount it would receive if they were sold.

The most recent valuation from March put the price at £470.5 million, although that figure does not reflect the true value as it is the assessment based on vacant homes at open market value.

The more accurate value is “existing use” figure, which came out at £188.2 million and includes the protected tenants and tenancies.

But that amount is not the figure the council would receive for any sale as it does not take into account a number of factors such as historic housing debt or the condition of the homes.

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Speaking last month, Andy Begley, the council’s director of adult social care and housing, said: “The latest valuation of Shropshire Council’s housing stock is £470.5m and it is a valuation provided by the District Valuation Service for resource accounting purposes only, in the council’s statement of accounts. Of particular importance to note is that it is a valuation of the council’s stock based on full open market value, that is with no occupancy restrictions and with vacant possession.

“As part of the same accounting methodology, is the housing stock valuation as its existing use, with existing and continuing fully protected tenants and tenancies. This valuation is £188.2m is based upon a desk top standard regional percentage (40 per cent) of the open market valuation.

“It is important to note that this is a particular prescribed accounting methodology valuation based upon individual property sale values, which does not reflect the stock debt, stock condition, local market conditions or the value of a whole stock purchase to any potential organisation."

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