Council releases update on Empty Homes project

Published February 27, 2018 at 12:56

Rossendale Council has released a further update on the Empty Homes project.

“We wanted to provide an update on the Empty Homes project as recently there has been a lot of concern raised locally around it, and rightly so – councillors and residents have been badly let down.

“There has also been misinformation about the project which we would like to address.

“As we have previously said, following the collapse of AAAW Ltd who ran the project, the Council took urgent action to ensure tenants in the affected properties remained safe in their homes and that the project continued.

“The independent audit report was very clear that serious failings in the management of the project had taken place.  Key staff involved on the project had overridden control mechanisms – these individuals have now left the Council. A lengthy police investigation looking at the role of the company involved, contractors and landlords is still being carried out.

Tightening our governance structures, improving our project and performance management frameworks and reviewing our internal financial procedures are all things we have done to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

The swift action taken by the Council to bring this project back under control has ensured 330 homes have been renovated to a decent standard and are now providing much needed local affordable housing.

The cost of supporting these tenants and delivering on our original promises has been significant. These costs have been met through a reserve set aside to deal with the project and the Council’s in year budget savings. Just to be clear, no jobs have been lost due to this scheme, no services have been cut, and council tax has not been increased to fund the scheme recovery work.

Progress with the Empty Homes scheme is reported through the council’s Audit and Accounts committee meetings which are held in public and papers available on our website. We also continue to work with our partners such as Homes England.

Further information will be made available once the police investigation has been completed and we will be happy to provide a full update once the process is complete.”

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