Thursday, 5 December 2013



Selling off a couple of former council houses is no big deal for  a giant housing organisation owning more than 50,000 homes.
But for neighbouring homes in Botcherby Avenue Carlisle and for other homes  in the Botcherby area  of the city,  the sale means the loss of two valuable community assets.
Number Two Botcherby Avenue
The two houses-numbers two and nine Botcherby Avenue-  have for  many years  been used as community meeting places and centres of a  council-run healthy living initiative.
One of the houses- number 2 Botcherby Avenue- has been a community meeting place for about half a century, many years before  the healthy living initiative. It was known then as BRAG House.
When the healthy living initiative closed a few months ago the Liverpool-based Riverside Housing Association put the houses up for sale.
Number Nine Botcherby Avenue
The community group, Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation is very concerned about Riverside`s sale decision, depriving Botcherby   of  long- established community facilities. The area is already very short of places for community groups to meet.
The Federation campaigned a few months ago about  Riverside in neighbouring Petteril Bank depriving the community there of similar facilities in Welsh Road.
The Federation is also very concerned about the Riverside sale for another reason- the loss  to the Botcherby community of what  were once two  social houses.
A Federation spokesman said:“Riverside should never have closed these two Botcherby Avenue  houses in the first place.
Councillor Robert William Betton (PenPic)
Coun. Betton....more social housing
“But having closed them, Riverside had a duty to the community to keep them as social houses for rent to hard up local people or to people who don`t want to buy a house - That is what they were built for by the city council.
“These days people often struggle to pay food bills, never mind  finding £100,000 for a house or even a deposit for a mortgage,” said a Federation spokesman.
The Federation view is shared by Botcherby councillor Robert Betton who continues to campaign for more social houses for rent. More than 400 Botcherby people signed his recent petition supporting social housing.”The people of Botcherby want  social housing”, he says.
The Federation will continue to campaign against Riverside`s policy of privatisation  and sale of the city `s 6500  former council houses which it took over ten years ago.”The Riverside organisation is neither properly accountable nor transparent in its dealings. It has questions to answer but will not answer them,”  said a Federation spokesman.

Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation. Information about the Federation is contained in the first post of this blog, dated March 25 2013.

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