Blackett Court housing group 'snubbed' takeover talks
Oct 11 2010 by Paul Tully, The Journal
THE housing group at the centre of an old people’s apartments closure row has been accused of snubbing the chance of a takeover and putting up “hollow” arguments to justify the shutdown.
Brian Japes, a parish councillor in Wylam, Northumberland, is demanding answers from Anchor Housing over the removal of tenants from Blackett Court in the heart of the village.
Mr Japes says Anchor failed to respond to interest in a takeover from fellow social landlords Milecastle Housing, or advertise vacancies, proving that “the path towards closure had already been established”.
Yesterday Milecastle backed the case, insisting it had expressed clear interest in Blackett Court following an original approach to them by Anchor – but they heard nothing more after initial inquiries. But Anchor claimed there had been no further interest from Milecastle or any other potential landlord and closure was the last remaining option.
Last night a Milecastle spokesman said: “Milecastle Housing was approached by Anchor Housing more than 18 months ago with a preliminary inquiry about the potential for acquiring their two properties in Wylam and Allendale.
“The Milecastle board requested that further details should be provided to the managing director to allow the board to make an informed decision on the proposal, but we did not receive any more details and did not pursue the matter any further. There have been no discussions with Anchor Housing since this time.”
But Anchor regional manager Julie Shuter said: “We fully explored a number of options before reaching the decision to close Blackett Court as part of a detailed review and this did include the option of a tenanted stock transfer. However, there was no interest from Milecastle or any other registered social landlord in pursuing this particular option.”