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Families facing homelessness saved by council

L13-050 Eviction from homes by Highway agency,  Briab Fraser and Carol Hover. Leagrave High Street, Luton, homes have been empty for 7 years. 
Connie Primmer
JR 3
16.1.13

L13-050 Eviction from homes by Highway agency, Briab Fraser and Carol Hover. Leagrave High Street, Luton, homes have been empty for 7 years. Connie Primmer JR 3 16.1.13

 

Famlies in Luton who were threatened with eviction are now looking forward to a stress-free Christmas in their homes.

Luton Borough Council has bought 35 properties near M1 Junction 11 from the Highways Agency (HA), who had previously served notice to its tenants.

The Highways Agency bought the houses between 1993-2000 for the motorway widening scheme and rented them out, but in 2009 the houses were no longer needed so were put up for sale.

Terrified tenants have been campaigning all year to avoid being evicted and the council has been trying to negotiate with the HA.

The council has now bought the properties at the market value of £4.6million using capital funds from its general and housing revenue accounts which will save the 27 families who were facing homelessness.

Cllr Tom Shaw said: “We were very concerned that these tenants were going to lose their homes through absolutely no fault of their own. That is why we have been committed from the outset to do what we could to stop this from happening.

“I am delighted that the deal has gone through in time for Christmas which is welcome news for the families who have been through a very stressful ordeal.”

“This investment has also given us more flexibility to prevent or reduce homelessness in the future by avoiding the use of unsatisfactory and expensive bed & breakfast accommodation.”

All of the homes will be refurbished as required and the remaining eight unoccupied properties will be adapted and made suitable for disabled residents in desperate need for housing.

Tenants will pay rent directly to the council.

The properties will continue to be used to provide accommodation in the future for families that would otherwise have to be housed in bed and breakfasts or other private sector temporary accommodation at considerable expense.

 

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