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Housing association chief executive latest 'victim' of ice bucket craze

27th August 2014

Another housing chief executive has taken the plunge. Ashley Hook, the chief executive of mhs homes, completed his ice bucket challenge after being nominated by Councillor Vince Maple, Medway Labour group leader. In a popular competition, mhs homes staff were invited to bid for the chance to pour the bucket of iced water over Hook, and the highest bidder joined Nigel Woodgate from Edmundson Electrical to help the chief executive raise over £105 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Ni...

Tory MP abandons council land purchase after 'deal exposed'

27th August 2014

A Tory MP has abandoned an attempt to buy some land opposite his constituency home after the deal became public knowledge. MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke approached the council about purchasing the 0.39-acre spot directly facing his seafront home in the St Margarets area.  Dover District Council agreed to the sale and offered the land to Mr Elphicke for £1,000, Kent Online reported. However, Labour councillor Gordon Cowan questioned the purchase after he was briefed about the d...

Opinion: Housing association critics are missing the point

27th August 2014

Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs at the National Housing Federation, says sustainable profits help the sector build more homes. There has been a lot of talk recently about housing associations becoming more commercial. But critics who have lambasted housing associations for their surpluses have missed the point. The fact of the matter is housing associations are social enterprises that create profit for purpose. It is true that housing associations have become more profitabl...

Pro-bungalow, pro-development housing minister celebrates defeat of bungalow development

27th August 2014

New Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis – who has used his first month in the role to promote the building of bungalows – has welcomed the news that plans for some affordable housing association bungalows have been kicked out by planners. Writing in his latest newsletter, the MP called the decision to block Saffron Housing Trust's plans to build eight affordable rent homes in his parliamentary constituency of Great Yarmouth a "success". Saffron hoped to develop six bungalows an...

Benefits Street 2 goes ahead despite locals' protests

27th August 2014

Channel 4 has begun filming the second series of controversial show Benefits Street in Stockton-on-Tees - despite an outcry by local people. The show's first series prompted over 1,800 viewer complaints, with critics labelling it "poverty porn" that demonised people claiming state welfare. The decision to set the show's second series on Kingston Road in Stockton-on-Tees has been condemned by the borough council. Council leader Bob Stock has said he is “deeply disappointed” that Channel 4 picked t...

Government cuts threaten families project backed by David Cameron 'Big Society' award

27th August 2014

A project that received a 'Big Society' award from Prime Minister David Cameron is being threatened with closure. The SWEET project, which provides support for some of Birmingham's most desperate families, is facing being shut down because of Department of Health cuts, three years after the prime minister awarded it with a 'Big Society' accolade. Set up in 2010, the not-for-profit venture helps families and individuals struggling to cope with debts or stuck in poor housing. Speaking as the SWEET project re...

20% of UK households home to children sharing bedrooms

27th August 2014

Children are sharing bedrooms in 20% of UK households, new research has revealed. According to Post Office Mortgage’s 'Step-up' report, in 9% of homes in which children are bedroom-sharing a lack of space is the cause. The report also reveals that the average size of a UK home has decreased dramatically over the last 90 years, from 1,647 sq ft to 925 sq ft. Over half (58%) of the parents polled wish their children had bigger rooms in which to study and play, and 63% would like to move in t...

20-year scheme sees 1000s of empty homes brought back into use

27th August 2014

A council's 20-year scheme to tackle empty homes has resulted in over 2,000 residences being brought back into use. Southampton City Council says that for the twentieth year running is has reached its target of filling at least 100 empty properties. Latest estimates suggest that there are around 2,700 vacant homes in the city at any given time. Most are only empty for a short time, such as when a private tenant moves out and before another one moves in. Most of the homes are privately owned. T...

Social housing tenants get warmer homes thanks to abseilers

27th August 2014

Teams of abseilers have been fitting insulation to improve the energy efficiency of social housing properties in south London. The Hyde Group is currently carrying out a major programme that has seen cavity wall insulation installed at 887 properties across the Studley Estate in Stockwell. The first 12-week phase of treatment at saw contractor Axis Europe using abseiling teams, rather than more conventional scaffolding, to carry out drilling, insulation and plugging on 23 buildings, some of which ar...

Former U2 and Adele recording studio bought by social landlord

26th August 2014

A London recording studio that has been used by the likes of U2 and Adele has been bought by a social landlord. Westminster Community Homes has paid £4,950,000 for The Old Dairy in Queen's Park. The 10,500 sq ft complex comprises a selection of brick built buildings set across 0.24 acres, including two residential apartments and 12 parking spaces. The property has the potential to be redeveloped into a residential complex. Annabel Haan, head of residential at Colliers International, the firm...