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Weekendweather summary THE PLANNED takeover of

stricken local housing association , Tai Cantref, by Wales and West Housing Association faces the imminent threat of judicial review. At a meeting of Tai Cantref’s

shareholders on Tuesday, August 9, those present supported what has been presented as a merger between two housing associations but what is in truth a shotgun wedding at which the Welsh Government is in possession of the twelve-bore.

TENANTS FACE UNCERTAIN FUTURE max/min (Day) Following the meeting on

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August 9, The Herald received a statement from Ble Ti’n Mynd i Fyw? – an independent local group providing young people in the west of Wales a platform to discuss housing matters. That letter set out a series

of grave concerns regarding the process by which the takeover of Tai Cantref had been forced through and stressed that shareholders ‘still have a second opportunity to save Cantref Housing Association from being swallowed by Wales and West Housing in a second meeting held on Tuesday, August 23’. The letter from the local housing

group goes on to set out a series of concerns: • A lack of consultation with tenants, shareholders, stakeholders and the public.

• A lack of certainty for tenants.

• A lack of employment security in the west of Wales.

• A lack of understanding of the value of the Welsh language, and a lack of assurance regarding the language.

• A lack of transparency and publicity with regards to this important development to the local area. The fact

that many

shareholders were unhappy with the lack of i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary

for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant, Tai Ceredigion Tenant Monitoring Group (TCTMG) chair Ken Scanlan told the Welsh Labour minister that following the vote on Tuesday, August 9, TCTMG’s concerns for the tenants of Tai Cantref had increased. The letter explains that, in the

view of TCTMG, there had been no genuine consultation with the tenants and allege a breach of the statutory duties imposed upon registered social landlords. It suggests that a majority of secure tenants, and not just a majority of voting shareholders, will be needed before the takeover by Wales and West can proceed. It goes on the allege that the

Board of Tai Cantref had actively blocked tenants from becoming shareholders and interpreted restrictions on accepting individual applications in a narrow and non- purposive way. Making an adverse comparison

between their experience of transfer from Ceredigion County Council to Tai Ceredigion, the tenant group’s letter points out that there was active participation and discussion between tenants and t h e council - something s t r i k i n g l y l a c k i n g f rom

beforehand, and had raised concerns regarding this matter and the lack of consultation during the recent meeting. The group concludes that: “The

proposed merger will lead to the loss of the local element, employment and the Welsh language, which Cantref provides, due to being swallowed by the sheer size and lack of understanding of Wales and West Housing.”



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Housing Association’s

the way in which the takeover of Tai Cantref had been handled. In addition, the letter highlights

that no up to date information had been provided to tenants, with the financial report from last year, which has been discredited by the report into Tai Cantref’s affairs in the hands of the Welsh Government (but withheld from public scrutiny) still being relied upon by the Tai Cantref board. The letter concludes with a

direct request to Carl Sargeant to intervene and ‘investigate how these two housing associations have been allowed to get to this position: of pretending to be acting on behalf of the Cantref tenants while totally ignoring said tenant’s interests; for ignoring all tenant’s interests. We request you act soonest to resolve this issue on behalf of the Cantref tenants and to protect the concept of social housing’. One key point made in earlier

correspondence is the refusal of Tai Cantref to even provide information to TCTMG in order to allow them to provide tenants and shareholders with advice on their options which Tai Cantref failed abjectly to provide to them.

PLAID STEPS IN The decision by the shareholders

of Tai Cantref housing association to merge with Wales and West housing association is ‘open to judicial review‘ and the current process ‘should be stopped‘ – that was the message from Carmarthen East and Dinefwr politicians Adam Price AM and Jonathan Edwards MP, who said they are minded to support such action. Tai Cantref’s shareholder board

last week voted to proceed with the £30 million deal which will see Wales and West housing association take control of Tai Cantref’s circa 1,800 properties. T

h e

Carmarthenshire p o l i t i c i a n s , w h o r e p r e s e n t t h e Newcastle Emlyn

White elephants: Cantref projects in Cardigan and Aberystwyth

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