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December 17, 2008

GHA break-up begins – at last

Last week saw the first significant step towards the long overdue dismantling of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). In 5 independent ballots, tenants voted overwhelmingly to transfer their houses to their local housing association. Let`s hope that the pace of second stage transfers will now accelerate

Gerry Bariden, The Herald

City tenants in five areas vote to ditch GHA and go it alone

Tenants in five areas of Glasgow have voted overwhelmingly to break away from the country’s biggest social landlord and run their own housing associations.

A total of 2100 properties will leave Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) and fall under the ownership of smaller locally controlled housing organisations under the process known as second stage transfer (SST).

The move was welcomed by Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell, who described it as “great news for tenants” but called for further movement on SST, which has become a major political issue.

Senior sources in the housing sector said the move was “the first significant step in the dismantling of a monolithic landlord” .

Ardenglen and Castle Stuart on the south side of Glasgow voted 89.2% and 93.7% in favour of going alone, Shettleston and Crossview, both in the east end, voted 95.2% and 86.6% in favour, while the Glasgow West Housing Association had 83.8% supporting leaving the GHA umbrella.

Turnout ranged from 50.6% to 76.9% during the secret ballot which began in November and ran for three weeks.

Scottish ministers will now be asked to give their consent and the houses could transfer as early as March 2009.

A further 31 local housing organisations which currently manage 21,000 houses on behalf of GHA are still progressing through the various stages of the SST process.

Mr Maxwell said: “At long last the tenants of Glasgow Housing Association have been given their chance to have a say on second stage transfer.

Chris Cunningham, of Shettleston Housing Association, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in community-based associations and we look forward to many more transfers.”