War of words over who’s behind city housing 'boom' - The Worcester Observer

War of words over who’s behind city housing 'boom'

Worcester Editorial 4th Nov, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

A WAR OF WORDS has broken out between Worcester’s MP and the leader of the city’s Labour party over who is responsible for the boom in affordable housing.

New figures reveal that 260 affordable homes were built in the city between 2014 and 2015, compared to just 76 units in the previous year.

Robin Walker has claimed the rise in new homes was down to the Conservatives being in control of the city council, but Coun Adrian Gregson hit back and said most of the developments were a result of Labour’s work when he was leader at Guildhall.

The clash is over affordable homes which are owned and maintained by housing associations who can charge rents of up to 80 per cent of the market value in order to generate more income to build more affordable homes.

“There can no longer be any doubt that the Conservative administration in Worcester is delivering better numbers of affordable housing than Labour ever did,” Mr Walker said.

“I recognise there are some quibbles about who planned for what, but on every metric, the current administration is outperforming its predecessors.

“It is good to see new homes available for affordable rent in the city and also more homes becoming available for affordable ownership.

“More and more people are being helped by the delivery of new homes alongside central government priorities as help to buy.”

But Coun Adrian Gregson has responded to Mr Walker’s claims by telling the Observer his party did a lot of the background work to get the affordable homes built.

“The fact that 76, or whatever the figure he [Robin Walker] gives, homes were built in our period in office is because there had not been the work done prior to that in order to set more homes in motion,” Coun Gregson said.

“There is now a bigger number developed as a result of the work we did in office of developing the pipeline for housing development, working with local Housing Associations and the whole process from securing sites, planning permission, money, and building, means that inevitably this goes into one or more years.

“Robin is trying to claim political kudos out of something that is not a simple as he things. Why doesn’t he ask about the housebuilding that hasn’t happened in the years of Conservative administration since 2000?


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