Friday, 25 May 2012

Housing in Hyndburn... Whilst reading this weeks Observer...

Whilst reading this weeks Accrington Observer I could not help but remember the heated debates that stifled rented housing in Hyndburn.

As a Councillor the ruling Tory Group refused to accept a viable regeneration plan for Within Grove, Huncoat because it meant building houses that would be rented. The Tory Group were ideological driven by houses for sale. Renting was a 'socialist' scourge that scarred communities and had blighted Hyndburn. That Labour's ideological housing policies had ruined Hyndburn and the Tory Council was determined to have an owner occupier society.

The reality of these policies meant Within Grove could not progress. No house builder would build houses and there was little prospect of sales or a return on any investment. There was a deal to build and rent as this would facilitate development funding with demand for decent rented accommodation so high.

I remember saying as I was then as leader of the Labour Group to the Board members, when there is a Labour Council we will let you build rented accommodation. To the people who voted Labour, that promise is now a reality as Within Grove is now to be redeveloped with new community housing including much needed elderly accommodation.

It's not just there that Labour's housing policies are changing people's lives for the better. In Rishton there has been demolition on Spring Street, in Woodnook private sector investment has been brought in to provide in the first phase 71 new rented homes and the College and the Council are to enter into a joint partnership to refurbish run down properties borough wide starting I believe in Central Ward.

The Tory Group has indicated they would not bring in Landlord Licensing after their half hearted attempt failed last year. Providing there is enough merit, Labour will introduce the largest landlord licensing scheme in Britain this summer.

£2.4m has had to found to finish parts of West Accrington where the Tory Group had signed legally binding contracts and consideration (for rent) is being given to a portfolio of properties in Council ownership abandoned by the Tory Group.

By 2014 there should be 100 new high standard properties for rent and greater quality controls over many properties in the private rented sector.

Voting Labour is making a big difference.