The press release mentioned above can be found by typing freespace redbridge into Google and a link to the pdf will be found. More information on 'Freespace' can be found in a report commissioned by Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) as part of its Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – funded FirstStop Advice programme. The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) website also refers to an analysis carried out by the Centre for Housing and Planning Research, at the University of Cambridge.
That the 'Freespace' idea can even be considered as worthy of merit is not one with which Shapps would agree because it is yet another idea to 'order' peoples lives through 'friendly persuasion' and another method to solve a problem that 'government' has - one of their own making. It has to be said that one, if not prime, reason for our housing shortage is due to our country being open to Europe, together with his wives and children to walk in and in the process virtually demand to be housed because of their human rights.
It also has to be said that where the 'government' offers to help it is well known that 'help' is the last thing that will be on offer. The 'Freespace' pilot scheme raises other questions such as if 'improvements' are needed to a property which has been 'leased' to the local authority, does the owner have the right to agree to said 'improvements' which the local authority deem necessary? The scheme allows local authorities to carry out maintenance, but who has the right to select those will provide that maintenance, will the most cost-effective quotation be chosen - in fact will estimates for the work be requested? Grant Schapps is quoted as saying "The Government is determined to pull out all the stops to help those who aspire to buy their first home. This includes social housing tenants and we will continue to look at ways to support everyone who wants to get on the property ladder". And the exact definition of 'social housing' is? Will those tenants of the 'Freespace' scheme be considered as 'social housing tenants? Will they be allowed to purchase at a discounted price and if so, will the local authority make up the shortfall twixt that price and the 'market price'? Anna Raccoon has what some may term a slightly cynical view of this scheme.
As with most government schemes, especially any involving Grant Schapps, this is another example of a half-arsed idea which does not appear to have been 'thought through' - but hey, the Lib/Lab/Con are all socialists now.
Afterthought: Some Sheltered Housing complexes are being changed to allow for 'Extra Care' - which provides the facilities and care that is provided by/in Care Homes - so it is reasonable to assume this is being done to alleviate the shortage of Care Homes. If this supposition is correct then we have another half-arsed scheme because unless more Sheltered Housing is built logically there will be a shortfall there.