Council tenants living in 26 apartments are set to be made homeless after a “pathetic” row between Milton Keynes Council and a private developer, the Citizen can reveal.
Unless the two parties can stop quibbling, the flats will be emptied of local families and rented out to another council 20 miles away in Luton.
Now former council leader Andrew Geary has urged officers to see sense and save the flats as well hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The saga started in 2012 when City Renovations, the company behind the Ambassador House flats redevelopment in Bletchley, were about to lease 26 units to Luton Borough Council.
Said Mr Geary: “We heard about this and went to see the chief executive. Within two hours we were signing a contract for MK Council to lease the Ambassador House flats instead of Luton. The properties proved a godsend for our homeless families.”
With the three-year lease due to expire in March, the council entered into renegotiations with City Renovations. But officers went in heavy-handed – with a demand for £125,000 they say the company still owes them in planning gain payments from several years ago.
Mr Geary said: “City Renovations object and say they will lease the flats instead to Luton Council, who are obviously keen to have them.”
Meanwhile MK Council will be liable for a ‘dilapidation claim’ – the amount of money it costs the developer to restore all 26 flats to the state they were in three years ago.
In this case the claim totals £400,000, said Mr Geary.
He added: “So the council is quibbling about £125K over a matter that will cost it £400k -and leave it with 26 families urgently needing new homes. It simply does not make sense.”
Mr Geary was due to ask the leading Labour group to take action at tonight’s full council meeting.
“They need to stop playing pathetic games and put the needs of city tenants first,” he said.
The Citizen contacted City Renovations for a comment but had not received a response at the time of going to press.