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Service families camp out for homes

#1
I seriously hope this is one of BAFF's priorities.

Please excuse the full cut and paste Guardian , but some people this affects may not be able to get the full story



Patrick Barkham
Friday April 13, 2007
The Guardian


When Jane Algar's husband, Richard, was given four days' leave from his RAF posting in Basra, he did not imagine he would be spending the precious R&R sleeping in a small tent 200 yards from his home.
But like the other service families who have been camping at the former RAF base in Coltishall, Norfolk, for the last three weeks, the Algars chose canvas over creature comforts because it is their only chance of buying homes near those they will have to leave when the MoD's lease ends in June.


Article continues

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Today, the 40 people, including civilians, who have camped in the queue will find out whether their efforts have paid off when the first 48 of 382 two- and three-bedroom houses at the former Jaguar fighter plane base are released for sale by a private developer, Annington Homes.
"It's pretty rough," said Mrs Algar, 49. "My husband is in Basra so I've had to maintain the camp on my own. He's done 22 years in the RAF. That should have stood for something. If we were on civvy street living in a council house we would have the right to buy it, and at a cheap price."

Instead, under the developer's rules, Mrs Algar cannot register her interest and then live at home but must spend 22 hours of every 24 in her tent to retain her place in the queue for houses. The former military homes will be sold at local market rates, and although Annington Homes has issued guide prices - starting at £124,950 for a two-bedroom terrace - it did not release the individual prices until last night. Some military personnel fear that they may have been camping out for nothing because they won't be able to afford the homes when they are released for sale.

"They are pulling at people's heart-strings by leaving it until the last minute to reveal the price," said Anita Spink, 42, who works in the army and was queuing to buy a three-bedroom house. "How do we know they are not waiting to add more money on depending on how many people are here?"

The Ministry of Defence sold its entire supply of married quarters - some 57,000 homes - to Annington in 1996. The homes have been leased back to the MoD until it no longer needs them. Then Annington can refurbish and sell them at market rates, with no obligation to give priority to military families.

In estate agent-speak, RAF Coltishall - renamed Annington Fields - offers modern family homes in the scenic Bure Valley 20 minutes from Norwich and is conveniently located for the Broads.

In reality, it comprises bleak postwar housing without facilities next to land identified by the Home Office as a likely site for a detention centre for asylum seekers. But the shortage of affordable housing in the area means the homes are in demand. Two queues have built up at the base, one of civilians looking for a bargain and another of army personnel hoping to get a first rung on the housing ladder.

Service personnel have been given first choice on half the homes until midday today, "as a goodwill gesture", according to Susie Patterson of Annington Homes. The company insists prices are not determined by the size of the queues but set in advance in consultation with local surveyors. Guide prices are issued three weeks before it begins selling the houses. The developer is also offering to pay stamp duty and a 5% deposit to help first-time buyers.

"Annington doesn't encourage people to camp or queue up. But if they choose to do so Annington will try and accommodate them," said Ms Patterson.

The developer has opened two houses so campers can use toilets, take shelter and make cups of tea, although they must sleep in their tents to keep in the queue.

Mrs Algar said the MoD should have sold the homes to military families rather than developers, but the ministry said it was helping its personnel to buy homes.

Since last September, military families earning less than £60,000 in the south-east have been eligible for assistance under the key workers scheme.

A spokeswoman said Coltishall was no longer needed, so Annington had the right to sell the homes under the terms of the sale.

But Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, described the familes' treatment as "unacceptable and demeaning". He added: "It would be easy to administer a fair system which gives them some priority, so people aren't having to live in tents."
Three things here.


1. Now I was sure part of the original deal was service families had first right of refusal , after an expression of interest. When did this 'Goodwill Gesture' come about?

2. Will the Conservatives demand an enquiry into this , or will they let this slide, as after all, it was their nasty little handshake

3. Will BAFF be lobbying Annington to ensure that Service Families are given first refusal , if this was a term in the original Annington deal?

This whole issue of housing stock could possibly be best raised now, what with the Government desperate to avoid talking about other service-related issues.

My piss is redlining.
 
#2
My family and I live in ex quarters. On our estate there is a mix of both military and civilian. I think that the MOD realised their error to late as now military families are in rented accomodation whereas had the MOD realised the error of their ways and not been out to make a quick buck. As for the company selling them (at the risk of being censored by the mods) when they were responsible for the sale of more ex MOD housing where I live they said that regardless of who camped out first military personnel and their families would be given first refusal, then MOD Civil Servants, then existing residents who have already purchased these types of houses through this company then those who were camped out. However that went out of the window as money speaks louder than words.
 
#3
Well done for highlighting this issue PTP.

Yet again, the bullshlt media lines made in Westminster versus, the needs of service pers and their' families. I will be interested to see which MP's get a grip of what is going on with Annington. When are those local elections again?!
 
#4
I am always appalled and amazed by this amd the way families have been ignored

This particular issue was on BFBS yesterday, the Annington homes spokeswoman said that when the original deal was made with MOD no provision was made for preferential treatment for service personnel and only later did Annington add the "goodwill" gesture.

Of the development in Coltishall 14 houses from the whole plot were reserved for service personnel for forst refusal until midday today.

Mrs Algar said the MoD should have sold the homes to military families rather than developers, but the ministry said it was helping its personnel to buy homes.

Since last September, military families earning less than £60,000 in the south-east have been eligible for assistance under the key workers scheme.


Fine to say that we get key worker assistance but a report today says that 70% of towns are out of public sector price range and nurses for example can only afford to buy in 1% (all in Scotland - so not much use for South East England) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3466215.stm

Without getting santimonious key workers and the military especially as we are subject to frequent moves need the ability to get a foot on the property ladder. The fact that we contribute directly to society is ignored.

Military do not appear to have featured in the Halifax report!

This really does need to get addressed now.
 
#5
... and another thing, the in BFBS interview the spokeswoman said that some work was needed to be done to the houses to make them saleble ergo we live in substandard housing!
 
#6
the Annington homes spokeswoman said that when the original deal was made with MOD no provision was made for preferential treatment for service personnel
I find that hard to believe. I am not saying it is untrue, but surely this must have been a discussion/negotiation point during the proceedings?

Perhaps Mr. Portillo can answer if this point was ever raised?

The statement from Annington re. preferential treatment , is also at odds with the statement on the Terra Firma website re. Deutsche Annington and the sale of DB workers flats.

Novel Aspects of the Privatisation
The sale of the rail workers homes is the first large scale privatisation of real estate to take place in Germany.

The decision to privatise through a sale to the private sector, rather than through an IPO, is also a first by the German Government.
It is thought to be the largest private equity deal ever in Continental Europe.

The sale paves the way for similar privatisations in the future as, even after the deal, the German Government remains the country’ largest property owner.

In the wider context of European regeneration, it was highly significant that the properties have been sold to a consortium led by a foreign buyer.

This, too, is a first for a public sector entity in Germany.

Amongst other things, the sale could be said to fulfil two specific political objectives for the German Government;

By buying the properties, Deutsche Annington Immobilien GmbH is acting, in part, as a conduit for increasing home ownership amongst the current tenants. Over time, the tenants will be given the option to acquire their own homes, on the basis that, for many tenants, mortgage repayments would equate to or only be slightly higher than rental payments.

It releases significant amount of capital the Government had tied up in the railway workers houses and flats.
http://www.terrafirma.com/page____73.aspx
 
#7
PartTimePongo said:
the Annington homes spokeswoman said that when the original deal was made with MOD no provision was made for preferential treatment for service personnel
I find that hard to believe. I am not saying it is untrue, but surely this must have been a discussion/negotiation point during the proceedings?

Who was the Minister responsible at the time?
beggars belief does it not. And the whole privatisation of MOD houseing stock well i have ranted about value for money by contractorisation in the the Torygraph thread :x :x :x

Does no goverment realy value the Forces :x
 
#8
PartTimePongo said:
the Annington homes spokeswoman said that when the original deal was made with MOD no provision was made for preferential treatment for service personnel
I find that hard to believe. I am not saying it is untrue, but surely this must have been a discussion/negotiation point during the proceedings?

Perhaps Mr. Portillo can answer if this point was ever raised?

That was certainly what was said in the interview, the veracity of it I cannot comment on. If it were not raised at least then serious questions need to be asked bloody negligent if it was not raised and a slap in the face to all of us as well.
 
#9
My blood boils!

The whole Annington Homes affair stunk to high heaven. Guy Hands and Terra Firma made an absolute fortune on the back of the MOD's stupidity and I doubt that I will ever be able to vote for the Tories again.

Litotes
 
#10
BUYERS QUEUE TO SNAP UP EX-RAF BASE HOMES
By Brian Farmer, PA
Dozens of first-time buyers were celebrating today after queuing to buy disused houses at a former Second World War fighter base.
More than 30 couples camped out to be sure of claiming one of 48 homes at RAF Coltishall near Norwich, Norfolk.
Some staked their claim three weeks ago after property firm Annington offered the two, three and four-bedroomed homes at between £125,000 and £195,000.
Insurance worker Matthew Bolt, 23, and girlfriend Hannah Furness, 19, who both live locally, arrived on Sunday and found themselves 13th in the queue.
"Thirteen has always been my lucky number so I was quite pleased to be 13th in the queue on Friday the 13th," Mr Bolt said.
"We borrowed my little brother's tent - I hadn't been camping since I was in the cubs."
mfl
 
#11
Good Lord... and here I was disgruntled at the mediocre housing assistance the US military provides for it's married members. Has the government there forgotten that soldiers, sailors, and airmen who know their families are secure have higher morale and better mission focus?
 
#12
PartTimePongo said:
I seriously hope this is one of BAFF's priorities.

...A spokeswoman said Coltishall was no longer needed, so Annington had the right to sell the homes under the terms of the sale.

But Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, described the familes' treatment as "unacceptable and demeaning". He added: "It would be easy to administer a fair system which gives them some priority, so people aren't having to live in tents."
Three things here.

1. Now I was sure part of the original deal was service families had first right of refusal , after an expression of interest. When did this 'Goodwill Gesture' come about?

2. Will the Conservatives demand an enquiry into this , or will they let this slide, as after all, it was their nasty little handshake

3. Will BAFF be lobbying Annington to ensure that Service Families are given first refusal , if this was a term in the original Annington deal?

This whole issue of housing stock could possibly be best raised now, what with the Government desperate to avoid talking about other service-related issues.

My urine is redlining.
Thanks PTP.

If anyone has any info to assist BAFF on this, please state it here, or email campaigns@baffhq.co.uk in confidence.


D.Y. (BAFF)
 
#13
All very predictable. Private companies are not charities, they exist to make a return for their owners. To do anything but that and the directors are failing in their duty. So, what complete f#ckwit thought it was a good idea to sell to a private company?
 
#14
Richard_Hannay said:
All very predictable. Private companies are not charities, they exist to make a return for their owners. To do anything but that and the directors are failing in their duty. So, what complete f#ckwit thought it was a good idea to sell to a private company?
Fair points, but it could have been made a condition of the contract. Plus, there is no loss to the shareholders in giving Forces families first refusal.
 
#15
hackle said:
Richard_Hannay said:
All very predictable. Private companies are not charities, they exist to make a return for their owners. To do anything but that and the directors are failing in their duty. So, what complete f#ckwit thought it was a good idea to sell to a private company?
Fair points, but it could have been made a condition of the contract. Plus, there is no loss to the shareholders in giving Forces families first refusal.
Hackle, as much as I wish to agree with you I believe you are mistaken. If a civillian turns up and offers more money, it would be remiss of a private company not to maximise it's profits. It sucks and all of this should have been thought out prior to the sale; it reinforces the general contempt that the CoC have for the troops - who spoke out at this - who had the moral courage to resign to highlight the dangers in such a move.
 
#16
I live in what is currently described in the press as "slum housing" and have been told that there is no money for non-essential repairs on these quarters.
However, half the estate was recently sold off by Annington homes and before the sale they managed to find the money to do up these houses to a really good standard.
Why is there money for houses being sold but not the ones still needed by service personnel?
 
#17
woksmuggler said:
hackle said:
Richard_Hannay said:
All very predictable. Private companies are not charities, they exist to make a return for their owners. To do anything but that and the directors are failing in their duty. So, what complete f#ckwit thought it was a good idea to sell to a private company?
Fair points, but it could have been made a condition of the contract. Plus, there is no loss to the shareholders in giving Forces families first refusal.
Hackle, as much as I wish to agree with you I believe you are mistaken. If a civillian turns up and offers more money, it would be remiss of a private company not to maximise it's profits. It sucks and all of this should have been thought out prior to the sale; it reinforces the general contempt that the CoC have for the troops - who spoke out at this - who had the moral courage to resign to highlight the dangers in such a move.
But it isnt a question of a civilian "turning up and offering more money". is it? Are these not fixed price sales? Reliable info would be appreciated.

As to "this should have been thought out prior to the sale", that was pretty much my first point. I hold absolutely no brief for the privatisation of the housing estate, but it would have been contractually possible to build in conditions about purchase by service families.

Regardless, it sounds like a lot of people agree that the outcome has been highly unsatisfactory.
 
#18
Does the MoD get a share of any profits from the sale?
 
#19
Patrick Barkham
Friday April 13, 2007
The Guardian


When Jane Algar's husband, Richard, was given four days' leave from his RAF posting in Basra, he did not imagine he would be spending the precious R&R sleeping in a small tent 200 yards from his home.
But like the other service families who have been camping at the former RAF base in Coltishall, Norfolk, for the last three weeks, the Algars chose canvas over creature comforts because it is their only chance of buying homes near those they will have to leave when the MoD's lease ends in June.


Service personnel have been given first choice on half the homes until midday today, "as a goodwill gesture", according to Susie Patterson of Annington Homes. The company insists prices are not determined by the size of the queues but set in advance in consultation with local surveyors. Guide prices are issued three weeks before it begins selling the houses. The developer is also offering to pay stamp duty and a 5% deposit to help first-time buyers.

"Annington doesn't encourage people to camp or queue up. But if they choose to do so Annington will try and accommodate them," said Ms Patterson.
What a load of bollox by Annington Homes. Prior to finishing my regular service I looked at an Ex MOD Quarter. I phoned Annington Homes to explain I was happy to go in at their asking price. The price was "on par" with Civilian housing with clauses to pay a yearly maintenance fee to a private company for the upkeep of the "open grass area" immediately in front of the houses .

Annington Homes explained that I couldn`t put in a bid. I must camp out and join the queue. I explained to Annington that I was a serving soldier and was on JRRF and on 5 days notice to deploy. Annington Homes replied "No camping in tents queuing, no house bid".

I told Annington Homes to shove their houses where the sun doesn`t shine. In hindsight, probably a wise move on my part.

It causes me much ire to read what are blatant lies spouted by Annington Homes, stating that Servicemen/Women are given priority over their civilian counterparts. This is NOT the case.
 
#20
It causes me much ire to read what are blatant lies spouted by Annington Homes, stating that Servicemen/Women are given priority over their civilian counterparts. This is NOT the case.
I don't think Annington can be accused of telling blatant lies MM , it appears never to have been policy to give service personnel first choice over former MOD housing stock.

The decision to give Forces priority at Coltishall until 'lunchtime' appears to be an initative solely confined to the sale of this stock.

So they can't actually be accused of lying, when they don't seem to have ever considered it.
 

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