Monday, 13 October 2008

Letters to the Yorkshire Evening Post

We've had a number of letters published recently in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

1 September 2008:

In response to the horrifying story on 26 August 2008 that the 'affordable' housing units in a city centre residential development had been fitted with 'plastic' gas pipes, we wrote:

'Danger in our homes'

YOUR article on the "plastic timebomb" in the YEP of August 26 made interesting yet worrying reading.

So a housing development can be created, part of which is classed as "affordable". Only the affordable section happens to contain gas piping made of polythene "which would have been quicker to install and therefore cheaper".


That really must be reassuring to those residents of Leeds who face the loss of a council house as part of a "regeneration programme" who then have to purchase alternative accommodation in private sector developments which will have some "affordable" housing.

Having saved a deposit of £20,000, paid an arrangement fee of £1,000, paid solicitors and removal fees, the once happy council tenant could find themselves in a property that is not only not up to standard but could be potentially dangerous while still having to meet mortgage repayments of £600 each month.

Maybe Leeds's housing policy should come with a Government warning – your new home will not be affordable and may also damage your health.

John Davies, Hands Off Our Homes

Then, on 7 October 2008, we responded to a news story in the Yorkshire Evening Post that called for more family homes in the Holbeck and Beeston Hill PFI Regeneration Scheme.

We wrote:

Housing plan fails to add up

Published Date: 07 October 2008

AS you point out in your comment in the YEP of October 1, it is always necessary to look behind the numbers when looking at house building particularly if the 'Folks who live on the hill' are to be helped.
The demolition planned for Holbeck will remove 685 council housing units yet the "social housing" element of the proposed regeneration programme will only provide 350 housing units. The rest of the development will be homes for sale.

We have seen in Gipton that when private developers are relied upon to provide homes they fail to provide houses which are affordable to those who have been "cleared".

Coun Congreve says he is not keen on PFI (private finance initiative). We fear that the good people of Holbeck and Beeston Hill will, in due course, discover that the private sector will not be providing them with decent and affordable housing.

So where will people go? With the council house waiting list getting ever longer and people "bidding" for a home each Wednesday in competition with hundreds of other people we expect that many people will join the desperately unfortunate Thackray family described in the YEP of September 30 who have been split up to live with members of the extended family.

It is about 45 years since Ken Loach produced the TV drama Cathy Come Home but the problems of housing provision still remain. The Government has the money for banking bail-outs and wars so why no money for housing of a decent standard?

John Davies, chair of Hands Off Our Homes, www.handsoffour


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