From Christine Bampton-Smith
According to Shelter, the lack of availablity of housing in Yorkshire and Humberside has reached crisis point. Shelter estimates that 130,000 children in our region are in insecure, overcrowded and damaging living conditions. This can have serious effects on our children's life chances, a number of whom will live in Calderdale.
It is time for the Labour Government, which has been in power now for over 10 years, and which claims that 'every child matters', to take hold of the situation. There should be an increase in the social rented sector in Yorkshire and Humberside by at least 1,000 every year as well as enabling more first time buyers to find affordable housing. Schemes should be developed for shared equity, longer term fixed mortgages and a raising of the level at which stamp duty is paid - at present, great tax earner for Gordon Brown! Local Authorities chould also bring in higher percentages of affordable housing provided by housing developers. Let us hope today's annoucement on housing will be more than just words(11.07.07)
Shelter has lauched a campaign to fight to ensure every child has a suitable home - to demonstrate support visit www.wallofshame.org.uk. All our children, in our weathy country, have a right to a decent home.
From Andy M
Are you getting this forum confused with some sort of Lib Dem discussion site and can we expect to see the same statement/letter appear in the HB Times on Friday?
From Joseph S
Its about keeping it all local Christine. The Walkleys Mill development will bring c50 new homes into the area. Can I assume therefore that you are fully behind this project? Because on the 30th October 2006 you seemed to be objecting to 16 new homes in Mytholmroyd that were close to your own abode. So I'm a little unsure.
Just so we are clear, more new homes built = more social housing = less children living in danger. We all agree on that I'd say (and yes we can argue the mechanics but stick with the big picture here).
You can have either more development, or less development. What you can't do is object to new housing on one thread and slag off Gordon for not providing enough of it in another because thats not fair. So come on Christine, get behind the developers in the name of tackling child poverty, because if you did, it would make me respect you a whole heap more.
From Cllr Tim Swift
Perhaps instead of just making party political points, Cllr Bampton-Smith could help highlight local issues and developments where action is possible or where influence can make an immediate difference.
Calderdale Council has already decided to increase the proportion of affordable housing required in new developments from 10% to 20%. There is presently a consultation document on the Calderdale website about future provision for affordable housing, and it is important that there are responses supporting the highest possible level of provision - there is a danger that the only responses will be from developers wanting as much flexibility as possible to limit affordable housing.
There are a number of schemes at the moment where developers are trying to argue that they should be allowed to reduce the amount of affordable provision - for example, a story in yesterday's Courier about an application for the former Halifax High School site on Oxford Lane in Halifax. We need pressure putting on councillors to stick to their guns and stand up to developers over these issues.
The Council has agreed to employ a rural housing enabler to work with housing associations to bring forward new schemes for affordable housing in the Upper Valley and other rural parts of the Borough. This is something Labour have been calling for since 2004.
Finally, we need effective campaigning to get more priority given to developing schemes to bid for grants and support to improve areas of deteriorating private housing in Calderdale.
From Rev Tony Buglass
To be fair to Christine, she was speaking on behalf of a charity which is advocating and involved in action. Yes, there was a sideswipe at Labour, but it was germane to the issue. And none of the responses actually address one of the most significant points she made.
Christine mentioned social rented housing. I grew up in a council house. My parents never owned their own house. During the early years of my ministy, I watched the Thatcher governments destroy local authority housing stocks by enabling their sale but not allowing the proceeds to be used for replacement. When Labour returned to power I hoped that there would be a return to policies which would help the poorest. Unfortunately, too many Tory policies have remained in place.
Housing provision is critical. WIthout a major change in policy it will only become worse, and so-called affordable housing will only provide for some. Social rented housing must be part of the strategy by which the community provides for its poorer members.
From Christine Bampton-Smith
I do hope that those who have responded to this discussion have given their support to Shelter's campaign.
Thank you Tony for your comments, and picking up the main point of child poverty and poor housing.
Joseph - I did not vote on the planning application near to my abode, but declared an interest as I am required to do.
Tim - from my involvement with efforts to increase affordable housing in the area for a number of years I believe that 20%, not 10%, has been the requirement for some time now, on developments over a certain size, small developments at this stage have no requirement - I was pressuring for an even higher percentage and for developments over 10 houses to have an affordable element.
Thanks Christine. So, for the record, can you just confirm that you will back the Walkleys Mill development with its 50 new homes, and by my maths 10 new affordable/social units as a result?
From Christine Bampton-Smith
I welcome Gordon Brown's further announcements on housing, which were made after I started this discussion. But I guess he doesn't read Hebweb!!!
Joseph's message and Christine's subsequent reply moved across to the Walkley's thread