Anger at moves to sell off former social housing site

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Plans to sell off a former housing site have been criticised by a local councillor.

Places for People have revealed they plan to sell the former Maltings site off Hill Road South, Penwortham.

The block of 100 single person flats was flattened in 2013 after Places for People declared it was too expensive to repair. They promised the site would be redeveloped into a social housing development of two, three and four-bedroomed properties, but have now admitted this plan has been abandoned.

A spokesman said they were “in negotiations with interested parties who could progress with the development.”

Coun Keith Martin raised concerns about the site at the time of demolition.

That was around the same time the Government announced its “bedroom tax” - a change to benefit that means a person may receive less housing benefit if they live in a housing association house that has one or more spare bedrooms not in use.

He said The Maltings could have been used to alleviate the shortage of one-bedroomed properties in the area.

He said: “To hear now that Places for People will be selling the land for development is outrageous. They do not really live up to their name.

“Another concern is the million or so pounds that is given to social landlords for such properties, we now have lost that. Money that could have gone towards another scheme on the site.

“Penwortham, it seems, has lost out. I feel now that the managing director of Places for People should return to Penwortham Town Council and South Ribble Council to explain the actions of Places for People...to tell us where why they left this for so long, blighting an area of natural beauty with what looks like a bomb site.”

A spokesman from Places for People said: “We informed South Ribble Council of our intention to sell the site and we are currently in negotiations with parties who are interested in progressing the development to provide homes for local people.

“The Maltings building was beyond repair, and our only course of action was to rehouse our tenants there and clear the site.

“When the site is sold the original grant will be recycled in accordance with Homes and Community Agency guidelines. We remain committed to providing homes through our existing stock and support services to the community, and we’ll continue with this work in the local area. We are also looking to bring forward development plans at another site in the South Ribble area.”