Wellingborough council planning to hand over valuable land and assets to housing association

The Penrith Drive Children's Centre is an asset that could be handed over to Greatwell Homes.
The Penrith Drive Children's Centre is an asset that could be handed over to Greatwell Homes.

Wellingborough Council is proposing to hand over millions of pounds worth of land and buildings to a housing association.

A community centre, children’s centre, shops, various patches of land, two car parks, homes and scores of garages are part of the package that the council is proposing to legally transfer to Greatwell Homes free of charge.

The authority says the transfer is in the best interests of the residents as it will remove confusion about who is responsible for maintaining the areas.

In 2007 the council transferred almost all of its housing and land over to the housing association – then called Wellingborough Homes. The remaining assets were not part of the deal because the council had thought there could be development opportunities.

However, the authority says that retaining some assets has led to problems including the condition of unadopted highways, paths and walls deteriorating, and the council also has a ‘considerable’ unfunded maintenance backlog.

In February last year the authority agreed in principle to the transfer of land and since then land at Penrith Drive, Fulmar Lane and Milner Road in Finedon has been given Greatwell Homes.

The housing association has started to build affordable housing on these sites and in total more than 100 homes could be built.

The value of the assets is not being made public.

A report to go before the council’s resources committee on Wednesday (Sept 24) says: “The primary objective of the transfer will be to provide a better service to local residents, making it clear who they should contact if they need an issue to be addressed. Fragmented ownership has made it difficult for both the council and Greatwell Homes to make environmental improvements to the estates, including residents parking; unification of ownership will make this possible. Greatwell Homes have stated their intention to invest in the estate infrastructure and improve maintenance standards.”

The full list of assets that could be transferred to Greatwell Homes are: four houses in Windsor Road, 20 garages in Lea Way, 41 garages in Arthur Street, seven garages in Rydall Mount, three shops in Swinburne Road, two shops in Nest Farm Crescent plus the community centre and former pub, a former sports field in Nest Farm Lane, car parks in Knox Road and Winstanley Road and the children’s centre in Windermere Drive.

As part of the deal, Greatwell Homes – which is a not for profit organisation – will take on the maintenance of the properties as well as the backlog of repairs.

The council has a contract with Wellingborough Norse to maintain land on the estates. The housing association has agreed to pay the cost of the works until the end of the Wellingborough Norse contract in 2022.

The committee will decide whether to approve the transfer at the meeting.