ROSSENDALE Council is to ballot tenants on plans to unlock a £40million investment in housing in the borough after more than 80 per cent agreed with the proposals.

The authority has rubber-stamped the decision to put Pennine Housing 2000 in charge of its 3,970 homes and tenants will now be balloted later this year for their support.

The vote looks like being a formality with almost 85 per cent saying they were for the plans during consultation.

If they back the choice a housing stock transfer will go through with a non-profit organisation set up to manage the borough's housing, expected to be called Green Vale Homes.

Under Government rules, councils that transfer stock to "social landlords" can access vast amounts of cash to lift the properties -- in Rossendale's case around £40m.

Lynn Hurrell, head of housing, said: "The council and tenant representatives have looked at all the options for homes and believe transfer would be the best way forward for tenants.

"Green Vale Homes would be able to borrow the money needed to bring homes up to the Rossendale Standard, carry out the repair and improvements needed, while keeping rents affordable."

Pennine Housing has said it can make a "real difference" to Rossendale. The firm, based in Halifax, was set up for the transfer of Calderdale Council's 12,700 homes in 2000.

Tenants can find out more about the plans at an advice centre, the Home Choice Shop in the Valley Centre, Rawtenstall, which opens Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am until 4pm.