Concern over Victory housing trusts sales of affordable homes in north norfolk

Victory Housing Trust chief executive John Archibald

Victory Housing Trust chief executive John Archibald - Credit: Archant

A leading north Norfolk politician has added her voice to disquiet over Victory Housing Trust's sale of affordable homes.

Social landlord Victory aims to sell 100 of its properties by 2015. It has already sold 34, a further 14 are on the market and sales have been agreed, but not completed, on another 13.

Victory says 100pc of cash from the sales is being reinvested in an even greater number of new affordable homes which meet modern energy-saving and other standards.

But Ann Moore, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), said she felt 'very uncomfortable' about the policy.

'I can see the advantages in the long term but if you are desperate for a roof over your head, you probably don't care much about meeting standards,' she said.

At the last North Walsham Town Council meeting councillor Dave Robertson also expressed concern and said Victory appeared to be selling its three-bedroomed homes as soon as they became vacant. He knew of four Victory houses on the market which had only been refurbished the year before last.

Victory chief executive John Archibald said a 63pc cut in government funding for housing associations to build new homes, coupled with the loss of funding from NNDC, meant Victory could only afford to build new homes if they were part-funded by the sale of existing ones.

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In order to secure a £3m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency, Victory had contracted to build 211 new homes between 2011-2015, while selling 100 existing homes – a net gain of 111 affordable homes.

Without the sales, Victory would not get the £3m. 'In such circumstances Victory's overall stock of housing would shrink, as a result of Right to Buy sales,' said Mr Archibald.

Victory currently owned more properties than at any time in its seven year history. 'Our approach is therefore generating a positive outcome for north Norfolk and a net growth in our housing stock,' he added.

The building programme was also supporting 422 new jobs.

But Mrs Moore said while she understood why Victory was selling, the policy seemed to 'defy logic.' She added: 'Our problem, and that of Victory, is that we are having to work within all these parameters other people are dictating to us.'