Shadow housing minister returns to roots to open new development
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development
Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds returned to the street she grew up on to open a new social rent development.
Social landlord Walsall Housing Group invited the Wolverhampton North East MP to an event that marked tenants moving into the new homes on Spout Lane in Caldmore.
Reynolds, who lived in Spout Lane for the early part of her childhood, returned to visit her old council flat and met the current tenants.
She also met the residents moving into whg's new development, which consists of six two-bed and two three-bed houses for social rent.
The completion of the scheme is part of the housing provider’s development programme which has seen 194 properties built across the borough over the last year.
It was supported by a Homes and Communities Agency grant of £3.5 million and a Walsall Council new homes bonus grant of £100,000.
Emma said: “Visiting my old council flat in Spout Lane in Walsall was a real trip down memory lane. It was a poignant reminder of my early childhood when my Mom and I lived there together.
"Just the two of us. I have many happy memories of those years including leaving home for my first day at school, admittedly a little upset!
“In 1981, the council threw my Mom a lifeline when they offered her and me the council flat. We lived there very happily for a number of years until my Mom re-married and we moved to Wolverhampton.
“My childhood memories of our council flat have very much shaped my views about housing and the vital role of council houses and social housing more broadly. I was shocked in 2010 when the first thing that this Tory-led government did was cut the affordable homes programme by 60%. As shadow housing minister, I have made clear that housing investment will be a priority for the next Labour government.
“I am glad to see that the flats have been maintained and are in a good condition. I also had the chance to visit some new homes that Walsall Housing Group have recently built just over the road. This new development is very impressive. The new two and three-bedroom homes have been built to a high standard and I had chance to meet some of the happy tenants.”
Gary Fulford, whg’s chief executive, said: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Reynolds to show her the investment we have made in Spout Lane, which is just one element of our wider commitment to provide affordable homes across Walsall.
“We are committed to investing £90m to deliver a further 900 properties in the next three years, and will be submitting a bid shortly to hopefully secure the government funding needed to kick-start this work later this year.
“Our commitment is about much more than building homes, it is about building communities so it was also great to be able to showcase the work we do with fantastic organisations like the Caldmore Village Festival Group to invest in what is an extremely diverse and multicultural community.”