Last Thursday (14 April) Roberta Blackmann-Woods, MP for Durham and Shadow Housing Minister, visited Great Yarmouth to learn about the good work the last Labour-led council had done to tackle the local housing crisis. Roberta, Cllr Trevor Wainwright, Leader of the Labour Group, and Chris Jones, Labour's Police Crime Commissioner candidate for Norfolk, visited The Old Fire Station and Trafalgar House in the town centre. These two listed buildings used to be unused council assets and were sold to Saffron Housing, who redeveloped the buildings into apartments and allocated the homes to tenants on a basis of need.
Roberta, Trevor and Chris also visited a resident on Kingfisher Close, one of twelve new build council houses. These houses were built as eco homes with tenant's energy costs and usage in mind, and were the first council houses to be built in 20 years.
Roberta said “I really enjoyed my visit to Great Yarmouth last Thursday and particularly seeing some of the good work that Labour did there whilst in control of the Council such as putting schemes in place for social rent and building new, high quality Council homes.
I also spoke to tenants who were concerned about the impacts the measures in the Housing and Planning Bill would have on them and their ability to keep their families securely housed.
Whilst Labour recognises that it is important to have initiatives that apply to different buyers and renters across the market, it seems that the Tory government are only interested in helping those who can already afford up to £250,000 in Great Yarmouth. Labour wants to see as many people as possible buy their own homes but we also want to ensure that people on low incomes are housed properly too.
Clearly the Housing and Planning Minister, who is the local MP, needs to do more to meet the needs of those in Great Yarmouth, and elsewhere, like improving standards in the private rented sector and ensuring housing availability for those looking to rent- at reasonable rates- as well as buy.
I’d like thank the Leader of the Labour group for such an interesting visit”.