Planning for homes is failing deprived areas

A councillor is demanding to know what has happened to almost £3 million in grants for new homes after it emerged only 17 houses were built in his ward, despite planning permission for over 1000 properties being granted.

Cllr Doug James of Darlaston South says he wants to know what the council has done with the cash after families in his area are being forced to live in damp and inadequate properties

The Labour Party Councillor wants Walsall Council to explain how it spent £3 million New Homes Bonus’ grant which was meant to be spent on home building in deprived areas.

Cllr James discovered that during 2011/12 only 17 new houses were built in his ward even though the council had granted planning permission for 1026 homes in the wider Darlaston area.

He said; “My ward suffers major deprivation problems such as long term unemployment.  This government cash was given to Walsall council to help build new homes and create jobs but in Darlaston South we have seen nothing of the sort.

“We have people living in damp, poorly maintained accommodation. They are desperate for a decent home to bring up their families but they’re being ignored by the council.

“The Tory cabinet member for regeneration, Adrian Andrew, has dismissed the issue by saying that it’s a national problem but he has deliberately failed to mention the council was given this grant.

“I want now want to know what they done with the money and what they intend to do to tackle this housing crisis, not just in Darlaston South, but across Walsall.”

The Labour Group leader on Walsall council, Tim Oliver, is backing Cllr James’ call saying the problem is replicated across the borough where only 539 homes have been built despite planning permission for 3,632.

“Cllr James has a great job of highlighting the major problem of too few affordable houses being built as developers fail to build agreed residential developments.  In Walsall, as nationally, we see an enormous demand for affordable housing while agreed plans just gather dust.

“The government’s policy of relaxing planning laws to allow more conservatories and the council’s dismissal of the issue as ‘not its problem’ simply won’t provide these desperately needed homes.”