To­ries: We’ll rid city of coun­cil tower blocks

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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.

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