A CAMPAIGN aiming to support residents caught up in the ‘heartbreaking’ leasehold ‘scandal’ is gaining momentum.

Leasehold ownership, most commonly found in flats, means purchasing a home for the duration of a usually long-term lease rather than owning it outright.

A motion on the issue proposed by council leader Cllr Russ Bowden was passed at Monday’s full council meeting at the Town Hall.

It notes that the Labour-run council reaffirms its commitment to ‘support residents affected by the leasehold scandal’.

Cllr Bowden spoke about the need to ‘get behind’ a concerted north west campaign.

He said: “I think by having that collective strength we will finally get the message home.

“I know from talking with other leaders in the region they are absolutely aligned with this, they are excited about doing exactly the same thing and us all making that collective stance.”

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin – who is the council’s cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing – seconded the motion.

She said: “We are fully committed to supporting residents caught up in this scandal wherever possible and we will stand firm against developers who pursue these abhorrent practices.”

Cllr Rebecca Knowles, cabinet member for statutory health and adult social care, highlighted the need to ‘look for redress’ for people affected.

She said: “It’s a really heartbreaking situation for people who find themselves stuck.”

Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, told members that leaseholds have also been used in a ‘fair’ way and are often essential.

But he believes the matter has recently become a ‘scammers charter’.

He added: “The leasehold scandal that some of our residents have encountered is absolutely appalling.”

Cllr Bowden will now write to leaders and elected mayors in the north west to seek support for an agreed regional position on leaseholds, in partnership with the National Leasehold Campaign.