Trust board slash ‘not right’ - critic

Mark Winn
Mark Winn

A HOUSING trust is at the centre of an accountability row over plans to slash the number of leaders.

This week Aylesbury Vale District Council confirmed a challenge had been mounted over plans to reduce the number of board members at the Vale of Aylesbury Trust (VAHT).

Councillor Mark Winn, Conservative, has called for a U-turn after AVDC gave the cut a thumbs up.

He said he has been alarmed that leaseholders in Walton Court were being charged towards the cost of a £11m refurbishment – and said the trust needs more scrutiny.

He said: “I have questions about whether it was democratically decided that leaseholders would have to pay.

“I’ve asked for papers to be released, but they haven’t done it.

“I don’t think this (the reduction of board members) is right, with all the issues bubbling on.”

The challenge will be discussed by AVDC’s cabinet on January 17, where chiefs will decide whether to make a U-turn.

If given the go-ahead, the five councillors on the board will be reduced to three.

Matthew Applegate, VAHT’s chief executive, “The decision was reached by AVDC in consultation with the trust and based on sound professional advice as well as current good practice.

“The reduction in board members brings us in line with other housing associations of similar size and maturity.

“The council’s decision not only shows strong leadership but a sound understanding of the housing sector.”

And he continued: “I can only re-iterate what AVDC has already said – that this will not affect the council’s ability to constructively contribute towards the ongoing management and development of the trust.”

AVDC director Matt Partridge said: “The council recognised some time ago that VAHT’s board was overly large. Further to this, at a recent communities scrutiny committee meeting it was highlighted that VAHT has performed very well against the agreed post stock transfer promises.”

He said the council’s ability to contribute to the trust would not be affected.