After bearing the brunt of this Government’s austerity agenda, Welwyn Hatfield Labour welcomes any support to tackle the chronic shortage of affordable housing in our community,
This funding from Homes England will go towards helping the Council deliver 670 Homes already earmarked for development by the Council, with a “target” that 30% of these will be “affordable”.
Rosie Newbigging, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate said:
“Money for homes is of course welcome, but a ‘target’ of 30% ‘affordable’ housing on 670 homes will do little to address the problems faced by thousands of residents unable to get onto the property ladder or a home of any sort in Welwyn Hatfield.
Labour will go much further in tackling the housing crisis, with a pledge to build one million affordable for rent or to buy over 10 years. We also tackle the lack of community infrastructure and public amenities such as GP services, community centres, Police and Fire cover and Schools that residents living in new and existing homes alike depend on.”
It will come as no surprise that residents consistently tell us that while they want to see homes being built for future generations, they are frustrated and concerned at the lack of infrastructure to deal with the needs people who live here or anywhere else, have.
From Doctors surgeries that are booked solid, Emergency Services that struggle to cope, cut to the bone by this Government and local Schools at capacity – with children having to travel out of borough simply to attend school; to a lack of investment in our roads and parking facilities.
Councillor Kieran Thorpe, Labour Group Leader in Welwyn Hatfield said:
“After taking money away from our Council for so long it is nice to see some coming back from the Government, however my concerns remain that one of these sites for housing is a well used free car park serving Hatfield Town Centre.
This Conservative Council has previously indicated its intention to build over other car parks around our Town Centre, as much as we don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, let’s not forget that car parking is a valuable component to the infrastructure of any successful shopping district. Losing them will have a consequence that lasts longer than the goodwill this announcement will generate.
Ultimately, public money, as this is, being used to develop housing on public land should result in public housing that will generate income that can be spent on the wider public benefit – not private profit.“
So while we welcome this announcement with reservations about the location of these planned developments, it is but a drop in the ocean that will do little to reassure residents that the Tories hold the answers when it comes to solving a housing crisis of their own making.
Since 2010, house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, rough sleeping has risen every year, rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer home-owners, and new, affordable house building is at a 24-year low.
A Labour Government will build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale by the end of the next parliament.
Labour will also establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis and to ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few.
Labour’s new housing ministry will be tasked with improving the number, standards and affordability of homes. We will overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body, and give Councils new powers to build the homes and infrastructure local communities need.