That there is no permanent Homeless shelter in North Somerset, is a disgraceful state of affairs; Conservative North Somerset Councillors should hang their heads in shame.

Did you know that the Police in Bristol have been sending homeless people from Bristol to Weston-super-Mare telling them there is a shelter for them to sleep at?  There is not, the only shelter that ever opens in Weston or North Somerset only operates for a few days over Christmas.

Could you imagine sleeping out in the gales and rain of the last few days? Do you imagine people do this through their own choice? No-one would voluntarily subject themselves to that sort of existence.

At our monthly meeting of the Weston Labour Party earlier this week some of our members when leaving to go home happened upon this very thing.  There was a man, who had been sent that very evening by the police from Cardiff to Bristol, then again by the Police from Bristol to Weston, just pushing this poor man along the tracks to become “someone else’s problem”

This is just not acceptable

Most admirably, between them, our members from their own pockets, raised enough money for this man to stay in a B&B that evening, and provided his fare to get back to Bristol where there are several homeless shelters, and at least some infrastructure to assist someone in that situation.

The Conservatives keep throwing out the tired old line that the homeless on our streets are not really homeless and are “professional beggars” “travelling by train” to the town daily to fleece residents – this just is not the case.  If you go out around the town late in the evening you will see well over a dozen rough sleepers, in all weather conditions.

Cllr Ap Rees (Deputy Council Leader) when interviewed on Radio Bristol a few days ago mentioned the homeless man who sleeps outside a bank in Weston, I have personally spoken to this man, he is genuinely homeless and chooses that location to sleep in because it is well lit and so he feels safer there.  You can hear the Radio Bristol interview with Cllr. Ap Rees here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05qg9gy starting at 2h07m (available until 30th January 2018)

These people are some of our most vulnerable. It was Mahatma Ghandi who said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”.  At this current time, under this government, and the previous, we do not measure up, we are not a great nation; we will not be until we properly address the issues facing the most vulnerable in our society.

For the Many Not the Few.

Via: http://www.westonlabour.org.uk/who_cares_for_or_about_the_homeless_in_weston_super_mare_and_north_somerset

There’s Still time to have your say on the area’s future

Residents in North Somerset are being urged to have their say about future local housing, employment and transport provision.

The West of England’s four councils – North Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset – are carrying out a major public consultation to help shape the Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study being developed for the area.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member for strategic planning, highways, transport and housing and economic development, who also chairs the West of England Planning, Housing and Communities Board, is urging residents to take the opportunity to give their views.The council has organised more drop-in consultation events for next week, giving local residents the chance to assess the options and help determine infrastructure for future generations.

These will take place at:

Nailsea Library on Tuesday 12 January from 10am-midday

Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare on Thursday 14 January from 10am-midday.

There will also be one at Weston College on Friday 15 January to get the views of students.

The West of England is growing and economically successful. The area is worth around £26bn a year to the UK economy and forecasting shows that at least 80,000 more jobs are anticipated by 2036.An estimated 85,000 new homes are needed in the West of England area over the next 20 years. With 56,000 currently planned or approved, options on where a further 29,000 homes could be built are being explored.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “I know many residents are concerned how North Somerset can meet the consequent demand for homes and transport infrastructure without infringing on the green belt and other sensitive areas of the district, but if the region is to remain successful it is vital to have those jobs with homes and transport in the right place to accommodate future growth in a sustainable way.”

If you are unable to get to one of next week’s consultation events there are a number of other ways you can have your say. You can get involved by:

visiting the website www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk

which has more information about the options and the various ways you can leave your views emailing comments or enquiries to comment@jointplanningwofe.org.uk

writing to

West of England Joint Planning Consultation,

c/o South Gloucestershire Council, PO Box 299, Corporate Research and Consultation Team, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 ODR

following a dedicated Twitter feed @WEjointplanning

and joining the discussion using the hashtag #WEbuildourfuture.

The consultation runs until Friday 29 January

Presented by Mike Nobes at the General CLP Meeting of 8th September 2015

Mike Nobes and North Somerset CLP are very keen to hear your views, comments and suggestions on this key policy issue.

Please contact us on this email address:
office@northsomersetlabourparty.co.uk

It cannot be denied that the shortage of affordable and social housing will be one of the major problems facing a newly elected Labour Government.   Locally similar problems apply.

  1. Shortage of social and affordable homes

Locally, approximately 7,000 families are on the North Somerset waiting list.

Insufficient social housing

Purchase price locally is now about 10 times the average salary

  1. Private rents

Now are escalating and are now between 7 to 10% per year in some places

  1. Bedroom Tax

Unfair.  Affects families in many ways.  Problem for newly married couples.  Knock on effect will be to restrict visits by family members

Insufficient smaller houses

  1. Empty Houses

It is believed that over 500,000 houses and flats are currently empty

  1. Housing Benefit

Now paid to the tenant as opposed to the property owner, this present problems for some people who struggle with money management.

  1. Social Housing Sales

 

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

Related to numbered items above and for discussion.

  • Set ambitious building target.

The Labour Party should announce a major house building programme of at least 200,000 homes per year.

A reminder that between 1946 and 1951, Attlee’s government built over 1,000,000 homes, mainly social housing at a time of great economic difficulty.  In the 1960s, MacMillan’s government built 300,000 a year and Wilson’s government built 400,000 a year.

The knock on effect would be a huge increase in employment not only to the building industry but also in associated industries and services.

  • Private rents to be brought into line with social housing rent.

Re-introduce rent controls through a Fair Rent Bill.  Examine the Rent to Rent schemes

  • Abolish the Bedroom Tax
  • Suggest a three year limit before the Council takes over empty properties
  • Pay Housing Benefit directly to the property owner, both private and social
  • Award discount as a deposit on private house purchase thus retaining housing in the social sector. This also means that in effect a social house is obtained at a low cost.