Housing bosses call on Government to 'show more ambition' to ensure homes and services are planned together

MPs have pleaded with Government ministers responsible for housing to show more ambition when planning new homes and infrastructure.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 1:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 2:00 pm
The letter concerning the future of housing has been sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire. Photo by PA.

A group of 25 cross-party northern MPs, the Shadow Planning Minister and Caroline Flint, the chairman of the Northern Powerhouse parliamentary group, have today put their names to a letter calling on the Government to show more ambition on housing across the North.

Julie Elliot, MP for Sunderland Central, Mike Hill, MP for Hartlepool, Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham and Shadow Planning Minister; who are all Labour members, are among those to sign the letter.

The message - sent by Carol Matthews, chairman of Homes for the North - has been sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire.

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Housing 17 organisations it represents include Accent Group; Gentoo Group; Home Group Limited, Karbon Homes and Thirteen Group.

It calls for a new wave of ambitious house-building in the north including a regional housing target for the North, and for the establishment of a pan-northern scrutiny body to ensure that housing and infrastructure are planned in conjunction with one another.

The plans are drawn from a ‘charter’ of policy actions proposed by Homes for the North, an alliance of the largest northern housing associations, which also include plans to combine existing housing and infratructure funding streams within new place-based ‘renewal deals’ creating new opportunities in areas which have been left behind .

The full Charter, Rebalancing the Economy: Building the Northern Homes We Need, was launched in Parliament this February, where the proposals were welcomed by Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, and Kevin Hollinrake MP.

Ms Matthews said: “The fact that MPs from opposing parties have come together with one voice on northern housing shows the strength of feeling there is to get to grips with the housing crisis here.

"We believe that we have set out a way forward for a radical increase in the output of affordable housing and we are asking the Secretary of State to work with us and northern MPs to deliver the plans.”