June 27, 2014 2 Comments
Those of us who value council housing (as a former council tenant I certainly do) are delighted with the momentous news that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is (at last) likely to build some new council homes. Of course this has yet to be agreed by the Council chamber, but seeing this long cherished aspiration within touching distance of being achieved is a moment to celebrate. This is something that all within the Joint Administration will have good cause to cheer about, especially Labour who it is that has largely made this happen.
James Duddridge MP (Conservative, Rochford and Southend East) sees this as an opportunity to scoff at the new administration’s achievement. Matthew Dent justly castigates the hapless MP for his unwise words (James Duddridge is wrong to oppose new council housing for Southend) and I will add a couple of thoughts to supplement Matt’s wise words.
Firstly, if clustering is a bad idea for social housing, is it a good idea for other types of housing? I am all for mixed communities and I call upon Mr Duddridge to join my campaign to end the clustering of million pound homes on Thorpe Bay sea front. We could also tackle the blight of expensive homes clustered in the Marine Estate in West Leigh, as well as that cluster in Chalkwell Avenue.
The locations for the new council homes may not be ideal, but you have to work with what you have got. I hope that more council housing building will be announced at some point, and this will be dependent on the availability of money and land.
This clustering has arisen largely as a result of the previous (Conservative) administration’s failure to insist that developers stick to the requirements for social and affordable housing when planning new developments. I hope that the current administration will make sure that in future we do see need before greed.
The Conservative MP also shows that he cannot envisage anything without seeing a chance for a quick buck. I can see no other reason why he thinks social housing should be provided by the private sector. This is an opportunity for the Council to provide much needed homes whilst retaining ownership. The land is, at present, a public asset (and therefore owned by all of us) and I see no reason to give this away.