Dorset

Council to buy back Poole flats for revamp

Rodney Court in Poole Image copyright Google
Image caption Rodney Court is one of four tower blocks due to undergo major renovations

A council is to buy back a number of flats to allow the renovation of four tower blocks after leaseholders complained about the cost of the works.

The Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council plan comes after 33 home owners in Poole were asked to each pay up to £56,000 towards the £20m scheme.

Cabinet members have unanimously agreed to buy back a "limited number" of the properties after requests from owners.

Opposition councillors called the re-purchase scheme "plain wrong".

BCP's scrutiny board heard on Monday that 33 leaseholders in Drake Court, Grenville Court, Nelson Court and Rodney Court would have to pay between £46,000 and £56,000 for their share of renovation costs - about £20,000 more than was charged to owners at nearby Sterte Court, which was renovated five years ago.

'Taxpayer burden'

The decision to buy the homes would also help meet a shortage of one and two bedroom social housing, a report said.

It said BCP had enough reserves to buy five or six flats but would have had to borrow funds to buy all 33 at a cost of £5m, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

At Monday's meeting Conservative councillor Mike Greene urged the council to abandon the plans and said: "I don't believe any reasonable organisation should be expected to take this and place the burden on the taxpayer."

But housing councillor Kieron Wilson, Independent, said: "We are trying to help out residents, to support them. We are trying to provide them with an option."

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, councillors approved the buy-back recommendation and agreed to delegate powers to the director of housing to decide which homes to buy.

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