Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dismay That West BerkshireHomeless Families Sent To Bed And Breakfast In Slough

I have just issued the following news release in my capacity as Opposition Housing and Planning Spokesman:

Liberal Democrats Dismayed That Homeless Families In West Berkshire Are Being Sent To Bed And Breakfast Accommodation In Slough

Alan Macro, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Housing and Planning on West Berkshire Council, is dismayed that homeless families from West Berkshire are being put up in bed and breakfast accommodation in Slough. He said "putting up homeless families so far away is very distressing for the families. This is especially so for the children as their schooling is extremely disrupted. The families are also a long way from their families and friends".

He added "I understand that the immediate cause of the problem is that owners of bed and breakfast accommodation in West Berkshire and nearby are reluctant to take in homeless families. However, the real cause of the problem is that there is not enough affordable housing or homeless accommodation in the district. This problem has been made much worse by the scandal of  buildings and flats standing empty for years:
  • Taceham House in Thatcham used to be used to house homeless families. However, Conservative-controlled West Berkshire Council allowed it to stand empty for over six years before putting it up for sale. Planning permission was granted months ago to replace it with affordable flats. However, protracted negotiations between the Council and a housing association means that the block has been neither re-developed nor available for homeless families.

  • The 37 empty affordable flats at the Parkway shopping centre were completed over 18 months ago but are unlikely to be available for occupation until the autumn. Tory West Berkshire Council has allowed this awful situation to develop by drawing up poor legal agreements with the developer and taking an extremely long time to take action, ineffective so far, to try to get the flats occupied."
Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Newbury, will be asking a question about the Parkway affordable housing scandal at the meeting of West Berkshire Council on March 3rd. Judith commented that "You have to question why this Council is sending people in need away from West Berkshire. Relocating individuals and, especially, families so far from their established support networks is unreasonable and counter productive."

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