Bridgwater Labour welcomes proposed action on affordable housing

Angela Raynor MP delivers positive speech for a future Labour government

Chair of Bridgwater Town Council’s Planning Committee, Cllr Tim Mander, warmly welcomed the speech of Labours Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner at the Labour Party Conference. Cllr Mander commented “I was delighted to listen to Angela Rayners speech which really supports the manifesto Bridgwater Labour fought on at the local election on last year. For too long developers have been failing to comply with the adopted local plan policy of 30% affordable on all large developments in and around the town. “

Cllr Tim Mander welcomes Angela Raynors speech

Cllr Mander continued  “In Bridgwater we have seen large sites consented with as little as 8% in the case of Cokerhurst Farm, Wembdon/Bridgwater; 10% Follets Farm, Dunwear Lane and even 0% at Cricketers in Nether Stowey! In cases like this the Town Council’s planning committee have strongly objected to such applications but whilst we are a statutory consulteee we do not make the final decision. However, it’s incredibly encouraging to hear Angela Rayner refer to the wish to stop developers ‘wriggling out of their affordable housing obligations’. Bridgwater suffers from a shortage of good social housing and secure affordable rents and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that only an election of a Labour Government will help deliver a positive outcome on good quality housing that people can afford and deserve”

Taking on Developers

Mick Lerry is the Town Councils portfolio Holder for Economy

Cllr Mick Lerry (Spokesman for Economy and Mayor of Bridgwater) said “For too long developers have been able to use the excuse that building affordable homes is not economic viable, yet they have increased their profits. Labour is saying that any attempt to not build the agreed quota of Affordable Homes, is in breach of contract. This will strengthen the role of local Councils, who in the past have been reluctant to take on developers, because of meeting their housing targets. Councils also need to invest in loans, to build council houses as well and the rent income will pay back the loans. Greater investment is now needed in housing so people can have accommodation at the right price and realise their home ownership ambitions. Building can also take place on small brownfield sites to create small housing communities, rather than large estates”.

Speaking up for Council Housing

Cllr Leigh Redman (Leader of Somerset County Labour group) is currently at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. He added “Hearing the deputy leader speak yesterday about how the next Labour government would deliver the biggest boost in affordable and social housing for a generation, was fantastic. Putting council housing back in the picture! It is true that the Tories look down on people living in social housing. I am not afraid to remind anyone that a council house changed my life!”

Cllr Leigh Redman speaking from Labour Conference

Working With Local Leaders

Cllr Redman continue “To hear how Labour will unlock government grants to deliver new homes by making the Affordable Homes Programme more flexible, so that every penny gets out the door to build the homes people need, has to be applauded. More importantly to me is how, the next Labour government will work with the local leaders, like us in Somerset, who know their areas best and can use these funds more effectively. Working with local leaders to strengthen the rules to prevent developers from wriggling out of their responsibilities and will speed up the building of new social and affordable housing. Reforming the planning system. Elected local leaders will be given the powers they need to stand up to vested interests in building new developments, through a specialist government Take Back Control Unit that will work with them to rebalance the scales. For Somerset this will provide stability and certainty for the affordable and social housing market so there is confidence to invest. Affordable, social and council houses aren’t just a nice add on. They’re fundamental to securing decent homes for all. I cant wait as Leader of the Labour group on Somerset Council to start working with the next Labour government to Build Britain’s future for all Somerset residents.”

The Change we need

Cllr Brian Smedley ‘we need a change…from the Tories!’

Cllr Brian Smedley, Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, commented “The only piece of the jigsaw left that matters is a Labour government. We can make whatever plans we like at local level but until we have the support of Westminster to unlock those changes we’ll continue to get frustrated in trying to implement them. At County we see the Lib Dems failing to cope with an already failed council thanks to the way the Tories left it and nationally we see Rishi Sunak claiming we need change…after 13 years of his party being in charge. The change we need is kicking out the Tories and electing a Labour government that can revitalise local democracy in the united Kingdom!”

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