THOUSANDS of council tenants will find out this week if they get to vote on the proposed transfer of homes to a housing group.

Sedgefield Borough Council hopes to transfer its entire housing stock to a non-profit making organisation, called Sedgefield Housing, formed by the council and Sunderland Housing Group.

This spring the council has carried out consultation including literature, public meetings, road shows and doorstep visits in a bid to ensure people are fully informed about what the plans mean.

Officers have analysed feedback to put before the full council tomorrow to consider the results and decide whether to continue with the proposal and hold a tenants' vote.

If a vote is held it will be administered by the independent Electoral Reform Ballot Services.

Chief executive Norman Vaulks said: "Officers and councillors think this is a good deal.

"We want to make sure it would be to the benefit to council tax payers in the whole borough.

"We believe it would bring millions of pounds of development into the area, because a housing group could access different funds and money wouldn't seep out of the borough into the Government's national pot.

"Ultimately residents will decide."

However, the proposal has been met with opposition from unions and local campaign groups.

They believe it is a form of privatisation that will lead to a decline in service, the loss of democracy and hidden extra costs to tenants.

The GMB Congress last week pledged to join the campaign to stop the transfer. Regional secretary Tom Brennan said: "There is no need to surrender this valuable asset when the financial resources generated within the council is being spirited away to central government instead of being used to maintain quality council housing for the people of Sedgefield."