Boundary Estate Tenants' Association
Tenants fight ALMO
By Angela Saini
Some residents of the Boundary Estate are angry about plans to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), which they say would mean privatisation by the back door
What is an ALMO?
The 100-year-old Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green is the oldest council estate in Britain. Many of the tenants have fought to keep the estate under council control.
But with major repair work needed, Tower Hamlets Council has applied to the government to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), which would make extra funding available.
Some residents of the Boundary Estate complain that an ALMO would mean privatisation by the back door, because it would take financial responsibility for the estate away from the council.
They have responded by setting up a Tenants and Residents Association, and also by creating a page on the website, MySpace, where residents can post their concerns. Gail Burton, one of the residents who is setting up the Association, told the BBC: “We’re going to pressure the council to give us a vote on the ALMO.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Louise Alexander (Weavers Ward) told the BBC: “If enough estates vote no the government may change it’s policy, but I don’t think it’s a gamble that’s going to pay off.”
In October 2006, 87% of residents in the Boundary Estate voted against a council proposal to transfer control of the estate to a housing association.
There are approximately 540 homes in the Boundary Estate, contained in 20 Victorian blocks. Approximately two thirds of the properties contain council tenants. Tower Hamlets Council estimates that £9.4 million will be needed between 2006 and 2010 to meet the repair requirements of these buildings.
In August 2006, when the council applied for a bid to set up an ALMO for the Boundary Estate, it announced: "The main benefit is that ALMOs can get extra government money to spend on improvements to meet the ‘Decent Homes’ standard if they perform well.
"This could provide additional funding for those estates which have chosen not to transfer under the council’s Housing Choice programme or where an application for transfer cannot be made within the government’s new timetable."
To see video interviews with tenants from the Boundary Estate click on the link to the right.
last updated: 27/12/2007 at 14:55