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Town Hall boss nails down Housing Choice' coffin

PUBLISHED: 18:38 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:32 05 October 2010

TOWN Hall housing boss Marc Francis has officially put the lid on Tower Hamlets' hugely controversial Housing Choice process in London's East End. Cllr Francis announced today (Friday) that plans to transfer Whitechapel's Chicksand estates to a housing association have been scrapped

Ted Jeory

TOWN Hall housing boss Marc Francis has officially put the lid on Tower Hamlets' hugely controversial Housing Choice process in London's East End.

Cllr Francis announced today (Friday) that plans to transfer Whitechapel's Chicksand estates to a housing association have been scrapped.

Both the Chicksand East and Chicksand West estates will now remain under the control of Tower Hamlets Homes, the council's new 'arm's length' housing management organisation.

The decision not to ballot tenants and leaseholders on Chicksand East comes just a couple of months after a rowdy consultation meeting at Brady Centre at which Cllr Francis became embroiled in a slanging match with hecklers over a proposed 'stock transfer' to Spitalfields Housing association.

Anti-Housing Choice campaigners had argued that transferring council-owned properties to housing associations would be an effective vote of 'no confidence' in the fledgling Tower Hamlets Homes.

They will view Cllr Francis' decision today as a victory.

But the Labour politician insisted his move was designed to give the best deal to residents.

Both Spitalfields Housing, which was to take over the Chicksand East estate, and East End Homes which was lined up for the Chicksand West estate, had plans to tackle dire overcrowding problems.

But these will now be at the forefront of council policies, Cllr Francis said.

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