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Cllr Ashraf Speech on Housing July 2017

More and Better Homes

We cannot deny there is a housing crisis in Northampton.  But who is stopping the builds?  There is a need for more and better homes in this town and above all we need more better social housing.  And it is Labour who will continue to argue for more affordable homes. 

This council currently has plans to build only 100 council homes in the town however, Labour Group believes this Council should work towards building 200 Council houses a year in the next 10years to meet demands.   The town is growing rapidly and the dwellings should be a combination of single, family and sheltered homes.  If we don’t build soon I am worried we will be looking at private landlords to provide all the answers.   

Don’t get me wrong there are some excellent landlords but there are also bad ones.  We have 4500 families waiting list is on the increase.   Lots of people are living in overcrowded situation.  Since 2012 NBC have sold close to 500 (490) council homes, in 2017/18 the number sold was 33.  

We cannot keep putting people up in emergency accommodation and B&Bs.  In May and April 2017, Northampton Borough Council paid £269,095 to house homeless people in bed & breakfasts - compared to £20,000 for the same period in 2013.  The answer is build more housing but no one seems to be in a hurry to build, so who is benefiting from the delays?

Who can forget the horrific fire that swept through Glenfell tower block which took more than 80 lives.  What worries me is why are those people responsible pointing fingers at one another other, when they all should accept responsibility.   This also highlights that Kensington council’s inaction for delaying housing those left homeless. It just goes to show that councils maybe inadequately prepared for such catastrophe.   

Then we need to ask the questions, in the 671 Npton blocks how safe do our tenants feel?  Do we have our own emergency plan?  Have we used the correct materials on our blocks?  I am impressed with the quick action of NPH and local fire service for contacting tenants whether by letter or door knocking to provide those assurances.  But we must not stop there as lessons must be learned.

Moving on I would like to see this council start the next big major project, by acquiring land and start building Council houses.  I would like to see affordable homes, no more overcrowding, and housing register numbers reduced.  Our new homes should be affordable and energy efficient homes.   I would like to see diversity in those communities and we can achieve this if we all work together to overcome any obstacles and start building.

 

Conclusion. We need more housing. We need more houses to rent and more affordable homes for home ownership. We need a housing market that meets the needs of a diverse population and that meets needs as they change. We need homes for single people.  For young families. For growing families, For older people so they can live independently. We need homes for the learning disabled and for young people leaving care.

We need better homes. Ones that are energy efficient and low cost to run. We need homes that are future proof so we don’t need masses of costly adaptions. We need homes that are near work places and near services so we can cut down on car use and pollution.

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