I had a meeting with a Regional Director of one of the national house builders yesterday, and we both alighted on the fact that the voice that is lost in arguments about ‘green fields disappearing under concrete’, corporate greed and shareholder profit for the fat cats, or economic stimulation and the importance of construction to the economy – is the voice of the people who might occupy the housing that’s built. If anyone needs reminding about why we need housing, and who it is for, a quick click on Shelter's web site has a sobering effect. Figures (largely from 2008/2209), identify 1.6m children living in overcrowded, temporary or run done housing, 80,000 homeless households, 1.8million households on local authority waiting lists, 500,000 households living in overcrowded housing. Shelters number one priority to address this issue is ‘build more homes’. By all means make sure there are environmental safeguards, and that we build the right type of homes in the right places, but without new homes being built, our so called developed economy will continue to harbour huge swathes of disaffected households, living at best in third rate accommodation, temporary accommodation, or worse still being homeless.
Keith Fenwick - Director, Birmingham