Daventry residents won't be compensated over council’s botched housing sale attempt

The homes have not been sold off after Daventry District Council reconsidered its position
The homes have not been sold off after Daventry District Council reconsidered its position

Daventry residents who were sold their homes after being told they were up for sale – only for the decision to be reversed – will not be offered compensation by the local council.

Residents of 32 TDECL homes in Middlemore received letters from Daventry District Council saying that their homes would be sold off, a decision confirmed by council in July 2016 at an estimated value of £6.750million.

A number of residents decided to move out of their homes on Pepperbox Hill, Hidcote Way and Stoneacre Close, but the decision to sell off the homes was scrapped more than a year later.

Despite a long battle by residents and some local councillors, they will not be offered any financial settlements. All residents affected will however receive a ‘without prejudice’ apology in writing after the council’s response to the saga was finalised at the latest full council meeting (May 15).

Councillor Richard Auger said: “When it was first muted that we were going to sell them, I was concerned whether it was the right thing to do. We’re apologising for the people we affected, but the wrong was put right by not selling these houses.”

The issue came before council after recommendations from the chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, Councillor Adam Brown. His recommendations suggested the apology, but stopped short of compensation.

Labour leader Cllr Wendy Randall said that the chamber should have backed a minority report from her party colleague Cllr Ken Ritchie, which proposed that £2,000 compensation should be paid to the 12 tenants who moved, costing the council £24,000.

She said: “A lot of residents were deeply distraught and upset. It has been absolutely heartbreaking to see what those residents have gone through. We definitely got it wrong. For us to only offer an apology when they had their lives turned upside down is a disgrace and I think we should have compensated those residents.”

But Conservative councillor David James said he did not believe that residents had been misled. He said: “I have never met anyone who didn’t know what a shorthold tenancy was. There may have been at least one grey area, but I think a lot of people are making a great issue over something that was very straightforward. Nevertheless the council has said that it is prepared to make that gesture of goodwill.

“As for the compensation that has been suggested, it is typical of today’s compensation culture. If the slightest thing goes wrong, up goes the cry of ‘we want money’. I think the suggestions that have been made are very appropriate in this case.”