First council houses in 20 years to be built in Southend

Echo: Lesley Salter, Southend councillor responsible for housing, and Ian Martin, executive director of operations of Estuary housing, outside the housing association's new development in Milton Road, Wescliff Lesley Salter, Southend councillor responsible for housing, and Ian Martin, executive director of operations of Estuary housing, outside the housing association's new development in Milton Road, Wescliff

PLANS to build the first new council houses in Southend since the Nineties will be unveiled this summer, the Echo can reveal.

Officers are putting the finishing touches to a detailed investigation into how Southend Council can cut its 1,500-strong housing waiting list by building new properties on disused garages and open spaces owned by the authority.

A review of land already within the authority’s housing stock sites has identified key sites that could be redeveloped.

However, officers are tight-lipped about locations for fear of sparking campaigns to save cherished public places, although the sites will be presented to councillors this summer.

Lesley Salter, Southend councillor responsible for housing, said: “There has been large-scale investment in the council’s own housing stock over a number of years, along with the delivery of new affordable homes through partnerships with housing associations, private developers and registered social landlords.

“The council has outlined an aspiration to make best use of its own land and begin developing housing again following recent changes brought about by the Localism Act 2011.”

Former Independent group spokesman Martin Terry raised concerns last year after a cross-party group of backbench councillors called on the Tory administration to consider building on green spaces between estates, as well as revamping its rundown tower blocks.

But, until now, it was unknown the leadership had listened to the recommendation.

Labour leader Ian Gilbert would welcome new council housing, but fears the land identified could only hold a few houses.

The councillor, who represents Victoria ward, said: “If the space is underutilised, absolutely we should look at building there. But we don’t want to take every bit of green space.”

Mr Gilbert has called for the council to buy and demolish empty office blocks in Victoria Avenue and build council housing in its place.

However, James Duddridge, ToryMP for Rochford and Southend East, has spoken against local authorities acting as landlords.

He said: “I would like to see a transfer of all the stock currently held by the arm’s length management organisation, South Essex Homes, to a housing association or, even better, a number of different housing associations.”

Mr Duddridge believes private ownership gives people a stake in their community, and is trying to make it easier for council tenants to buy their homes under the “right to buy” – established by Margaret Thatcher in 1980.

Mr Duddridge, a former banker, also praised the role of private landlords in providing housing, a quarter of which is paid for by the taxpayer through housing benefit.

He said: “Councils and housing associations play an important part in providing housing for many people, but we should not forget that the private rented sector also has a significant role to play in meeting the demand for accommodation.

“Nationally, 25.5 per cent of households privately renting are on benefits.

“I have always believed that the right to buywas an outstandingly successful policy with nearly 2million homes being bought since 1980. This helped improve social mobility and gave people a sense of pride and ownership, not just in their home, but in their street and neighbourhood.”

Comments (9)

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4:26pm Sun 27 Apr 14

jolllyboy says...

So Duddridge has opened a can of worms - tories dont want social housing any more!. Now we know what is going on. Well private landlords records are not great are they. Over priced and over crowded. Do we really want to go back to the victorian days. If there are no social houses then landlords can charge whatever they like, no control on conditions of the house and you create a spiralling rent problem and more on housing benefits with people constantly moving (which they cant afford to do) as landlords 'play' with the rents. Do we really want to create multiple occupancy areas due to landlords greed. I think not.
So Duddridge has opened a can of worms - tories dont want social housing any more!. Now we know what is going on. Well private landlords records are not great are they. Over priced and over crowded. Do we really want to go back to the victorian days. If there are no social houses then landlords can charge whatever they like, no control on conditions of the house and you create a spiralling rent problem and more on housing benefits with people constantly moving (which they cant afford to do) as landlords 'play' with the rents. Do we really want to create multiple occupancy areas due to landlords greed. I think not. jolllyboy
  • Score: 29

6:31pm Sun 27 Apr 14

jayman says...

James duddridge is not a man to be trusted with any social policy issues.
James duddridge is not a man to be trusted with any social policy issues. jayman
  • Score: 7

8:22pm Sun 27 Apr 14

emcee says...

Mr Duddridge has got it so, so, so, so wrong.
"Right to buy" is probably the single biggest reason we are in this housing mess in the first place and all private landlords do is bring greed to the table.
Social housing should be just that, cheap housing provided by society for society. Not for greedy landlords to line their pockets.
Mr Duddridge has got it so, so, so, so wrong. "Right to buy" is probably the single biggest reason we are in this housing mess in the first place and all private landlords do is bring greed to the table. Social housing should be just that, cheap housing provided by society for society. Not for greedy landlords to line their pockets. emcee
  • Score: 12

11:01pm Sun 27 Apr 14

ThisYear says...

"Affordable housing" is nothing more than spin.
"Affordable housing" is nothing more than spin. ThisYear
  • Score: -3

1:58am Mon 28 Apr 14

Nelly99 says...

emcee wrote:
Mr Duddridge has got it so, so, so, so wrong. "Right to buy" is probably the single biggest reason we are in this housing mess in the first place and all private landlords do is bring greed to the table. Social housing should be just that, cheap housing provided by society for society. Not for greedy landlords to line their pockets.
I totally agree. There really is no point in building new council houses if you are then going to sell them off at a fraction of their value to people who will then sell them on and make a massive profit at the taxpayers expense. The reason there are so few council properties now is precisely because that awful Thatcher got it wrong 30 years ago!
[quote][p][bold]emcee[/bold] wrote: Mr Duddridge has got it so, so, so, so wrong. "Right to buy" is probably the single biggest reason we are in this housing mess in the first place and all private landlords do is bring greed to the table. Social housing should be just that, cheap housing provided by society for society. Not for greedy landlords to line their pockets.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. There really is no point in building new council houses if you are then going to sell them off at a fraction of their value to people who will then sell them on and make a massive profit at the taxpayers expense. The reason there are so few council properties now is precisely because that awful Thatcher got it wrong 30 years ago! Nelly99
  • Score: 5

6:27am Mon 28 Apr 14

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Thats why large council estates, were built, there are many places for such new builds such as Jotmans, Shoebury garrison, Canvey, go on get 'em built..
Thats why large council estates, were built, there are many places for such new builds such as Jotmans, Shoebury garrison, Canvey, go on get 'em built.. Nowthatsworthknowing
  • Score: 1

11:09am Mon 28 Apr 14

rodgdodge says...

The problem with property owning, especially in the south east, is that if a new job opportunity arises in another part of the country.
It is very unlikely, that anyone would actually move.
The reason is that various parts of the country have very different house prices and rates of change in their values.
So that, if someone actually moved , they, at a future time, may not be able to afford a property , back where they started !
Social mobility? Actual geographical mobility is much more difficult. Social housing provides a way of overcoming this problem, through operating a system of ` transfers`, where mutual agreements of tenants, may be achieved.
The problem with property owning, especially in the south east, is that if a new job opportunity arises in another part of the country. It is very unlikely, that anyone would actually move. The reason is that various parts of the country have very different house prices and rates of change in their values. So that, if someone actually moved , they, at a future time, may not be able to afford a property , back where they started ! Social mobility? Actual geographical mobility is much more difficult. Social housing provides a way of overcoming this problem, through operating a system of ` transfers`, where mutual agreements of tenants, may be achieved. rodgdodge
  • Score: 2

4:02pm Mon 28 Apr 14

SouthendWanderer says...

"Mr Gilbert has called for the council to buy and demolish empty office blocks in Victoria Avenue and build council housing in its place."

Good call - about time something useful was done with all those dreadful smashed-up old office blocks.
"Mr Gilbert has called for the council to buy and demolish empty office blocks in Victoria Avenue and build council housing in its place." Good call - about time something useful was done with all those dreadful smashed-up old office blocks. SouthendWanderer
  • Score: 4

5:23pm Mon 28 Apr 14

Nelly99 says...

rodgdodge wrote:
The problem with property owning, especially in the south east, is that if a new job opportunity arises in another part of the country. It is very unlikely, that anyone would actually move. The reason is that various parts of the country have very different house prices and rates of change in their values. So that, if someone actually moved , they, at a future time, may not be able to afford a property , back where they started ! Social mobility? Actual geographical mobility is much more difficult. Social housing provides a way of overcoming this problem, through operating a system of ` transfers`, where mutual agreements of tenants, may be achieved.
Well Rodge doesn't that exist already? Council tenants move if they can agree an exchange. In my experience most council tenants are so pleased to be offered accomodation dynamite won't shift them. The sector we are talking about doesn't work or want to. I live on estate where the people work to pay for their houses and the neighbours not only get the same thing for nothing but are paid to live there. This is the residue of Thatchers great scheme. Social housing is a ridiculous concept!
[quote][p][bold]rodgdodge[/bold] wrote: The problem with property owning, especially in the south east, is that if a new job opportunity arises in another part of the country. It is very unlikely, that anyone would actually move. The reason is that various parts of the country have very different house prices and rates of change in their values. So that, if someone actually moved , they, at a future time, may not be able to afford a property , back where they started ! Social mobility? Actual geographical mobility is much more difficult. Social housing provides a way of overcoming this problem, through operating a system of ` transfers`, where mutual agreements of tenants, may be achieved.[/p][/quote]Well Rodge doesn't that exist already? Council tenants move if they can agree an exchange. In my experience most council tenants are so pleased to be offered accomodation dynamite won't shift them. The sector we are talking about doesn't work or want to. I live on estate where the people work to pay for their houses and the neighbours not only get the same thing for nothing but are paid to live there. This is the residue of Thatchers great scheme. Social housing is a ridiculous concept! Nelly99
  • Score: 0

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