A SINGLE housing structure has been agreed for council homes in Bournemouth and Poole.

BCP Homes will come into being on July 1 with a promise that the service for just under 10,000 tenants will be better.

Housing portfolio holder Cllr Karen Rampton says the best of Poole Housing Partnership and the council-run Bournemouth housing team will be brought together with any savings re-invested.

She said the new combined management structure, which will have a residents housing advisory board, will give residents a greater say in the service.

Cllr Rampton told the May council meeting that there would be a focus on better communication and tackling anti-social behaviour, claiming that 78 per cent of residents were broadly in favour of the changes.

But there were some concerns from councillors who want to see area-based teams retained and asked for the Poole ‘Your Money’ team to be expanded to help residents across the area with financial advice.

Cllr Mark Howell said there were a lot of assumptions that the combined service would be better, but said the evidence of wider mergers under BCP so far had been mixed with residents often being failed by changes which were put in place.

Cllr Rampton said the bringing together of the two housing departments in July would offer the best of both and residents, when they called for help or advice, should not notice any difference with the customer service function being ring-fenced.

Christchurch will remain outside the new combined service with its homes run by Sovereign Housing, although in the future council homes may be built in the area which would then come under BCP Homes.