Changes could put jobs at risk

HUNDREDS of jobs could be at risk under controversial plans to shake up the management of High Peak’s council houses.

Councillors look set to approve changes which could spell the end of High Peak Community Housing (HPCH) – currently responsible for managing 4,100 council homes across the borough.

Under the proposals, High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) would take over the management of the properties and be responsible for providing services including repairs, lettings and rent collections.

Scores of workers at both HPCH and HPBC could be affected as a result of the plans.

A council spokesman said: “There are 135 people employed by HPCH and all of them, along with employees of HPBC, are potentially affected if the service transfers and is integrated with existing council services.”

Councillor Anthony McKeown, executive member for community services, said the proposals were the “best way forward for tenants”.

He added: “By returning housing management to the council, efficiency savings can be put straight into managing and maintaining the houses.”

The plans would see a reduction in the amount of duplication of services, resulting in savings of £620,000 a year.

HPCH was set up by HPBC in 2004 so the authority could access funding of £9.4m from the Government.

A HPCH spokesman said: “Our aim will be to work with the council to ensure that tenants continue to receive excellent services.”

A recent consultation revealed 79 per cent of respondants were in favour of the changes.

The plans were due to be discussed by councillors on Wednesday night as the Buxton Advertiser went to press.

If approved as recommended, they will need to be given the go-ahead by members of the full council at the end of February.

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