Speaking yesterday evening (2nd November) in a debate on the Housing and Planning Bill, Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders accused the Conservative government of showing contempt for council homes, local democracy and the social rented sector.
The Bill, which has been criticised by a range of groups including the housing charity Shelter contains a number of contentious measures, including a proposal to force councils to sell off more homes, with no commitment to provide a replacement and the income going to the government.
Justin condemned this approach, saying:
“How can it be right that the Government are saying to councils, “We’re just going to take money off you and spend it as we wish”? That is an abuse of power, and it shows a high level of contempt and disdain for councils.”
The Bill also proposes to ‘speed up the planning system,’ a measure criticised by Justin, who raised the controversial Ledsham development, where up to 2,000 homes could be built on greenfield land despite local opposition.
“The planning changes brought about in the last five years have given us the worst of both worlds in Ellesmere Port and Neston. On the outskirts of Little Sutton in Ellesmere Port, developers have run roughshod over the wishes of residents to obtain planning permission for a large number of homes to be built on prime agricultural land.
At the same time many brownfield sites closer to the town centre which have the capacity to deliver this number of homes and also bring much-needed investment into our town centre still lie empty.”
Speaking after the Bill passed its Second Reading, despite Labour opposition, Justin said:
“There is a housing crisis facing people in Ellesmere Port & Neston, with a large social housing waiting list, unaffordable private rents and home ownership remaining an impossible dream for many. So I’m disappointed to see that the Government has completely missed an opportunity to tackle this issue today.
What they are proposing makes it even harder to resist planning applications like Ledsham, while doing nothing to encourage the development of affordable homes where people want to see them.”
You can watch the speech in full here: goo.gl/sYKE2b