Tories: We’ll rid city of council tower blocks
THE Conservative group will rid the city of every council-owned high rise tower block in Birmingham if they take control of the council this May in what they called the biggest shake-up of housing for 70 years.
The group said it would demolish or sell off every one of the council-owned towers over ten years, replacing them with houses or low rise blocks in a bid to give every citizen a decent home.
Conservative leader Robert Alden said there had been multiple failures in city housing policy over many decades – including the lack of suitable housing in suburbs, too many family homes turned into houses of multiple occupation and too many families with children confined to high rise flats.
He said: “Every resident of Birmingham deserves to live in a decent quality home. Sadly too many tower blocks in this city are blighted by anti-social behaviour and litter. Birmingham Conservatives say enough is enough we will build the houses need to give everyone a quality home to live in.”
Currently 6,114 households living in Birmingham’s 213 tower blocks have children. The Conservatives said this was unacceptable and should be phased out as soon as possible.
Their policy will see the tower blocks gradually demolished with tenants offered places in new-builds nearby to keep communities together – rather th an force them to move to new parts of the city. Cllr Alden pointed out that Conservatives created the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, the council’s house-building arm, in 2010 and would use it to step up the construction of new affordable properties. “These days the dream of owning your own home is often out of reach for many residents in Birmingham. We want all young people in our city to be able to own their own home if they wish. Therefore, as well as ensuring the building of enough properties, we will work with developers to ensure an increase in the number of affordable ‘for sale’ properties.
“The failure to build suitable housing has changed the character of our mature suburbs, and it makes it harder to tackle the housing shortage. Many houses in Birmingham were built over 100 years ago and still provide good family homes.
“Yet some new homes are built to last only 30-50 years. This is not sustainable and means we will have to build even more homes in the long run to house the city.”
The announcement follows the Conservatives’ pledge last week to extend the residency requirement from one to five years for a place on the council house waiting list.
They will also introduce measures to limit the conversion of family homes into HMOs which has changed several parts of the city.