January 30, 2024
In the last edition, it was reported that Reidvale Housing Association had fallen victim to the trend in social housing promoting mergers and the acquisition of small housing associations by the housing behemoths that operate right across the UK. It seemed that all the benefits of community controlled housing, once lauded by all and sundry, had been completely forgotten. Well, not it seems by those that matter most – the tenants themselves. An eleventh hour vote by the tenants, has overwhelmingly rejected the proposed takeover by People for Places. There’s life in the community housing movement yet.
Reidvale Housing Association will remain under community ownership
The original fight was documented in a BBC documentary a decade ago.
Shareholders have voted to keep a historic Glasgow housing association under community ownership.
Reidvale Housing Association, which is responsible for more than 900 homes in the Dennistoun area, had been set to amalgamate with a nationwide association.
But at a special meeting on Monday, the transfer failed to get the required number of votes to go ahead.
An earlier vote was backed by 61% of residents.
A two thirds majority of all shareholders was required, but the vote fell short with 138 voting against the proposals and 70 in favour.
The housing association’s management committee said the result is “hugely disappointing” and will “be a blow to the many tenants who voted for change”.
MSP Paul Sweeney, who campaigned to keep Reidvale in community ownership said the result was a “historic victory for community-owned housing”.
He said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “This is Glasgow at its best, people power on the streets.
“Turned around what many people who have worked in housing for years thought this was a foregone conclusion, that Reidvale was dead.
“It is very much alive….A lot of people wrote people off and this shows community power in Glasgow is alive and kicking.”
National property management firm People for Places (PFP) had pledged £13.7m to upgrade homes, including renovations of kitchens, bathrooms, windows, and doors if the transfer was successful.
The freeze on rents was hoped to save tenants an average of £1,355 per year.
Some residents had backed the plans saying the properties needed to be brought “into the 21st Century”.
Katie Smart, Director for Places for People Scotland, said she has huge respect for the history of Reidvale Housing Association and the “clear passion” for affordable housing.
She said: “What has always been most important for us, and always will be, is what’s best for the tenants, including affordable and sustainable rents, ensuring homes get the crucial investment they need whilst people have the support they need from a local housing team.
“The commitments we have made to Reidvale tenants and wider community is why we received the support of tenants in the ballot.
“We remain interested in being the ones to do this, but we note the result of the shareholders’ vote, and it is for Reidvale Management Committee to now agree a way forward.”
Reidvale Housing Association protected tenements and back courts from demolition after its takeover in 1975
Reidvale Housing Association was born out of a battle to protect homes in Dennistoun’s tenement buildings from demolition in the 1970s.
The city authorities planned to tear down tenements in the neighbourhood and move families to new homes in the growing schemes on the outskirts of Glasgow.
A group of residents – led by John Butterly and dubbed the “Bathgate Street Mafia” – banded together to fight the proposals.
The fight was documented in a BBC documentary a decade ago.