LETTER: Official bodies lack drive over housing plans

We have, so we are told by government, opposition, councils of various hue, businesses especially the building one, that the country is short of houses and we need to build estates across the land.

Here in Colne/Nelson we have just had a campaign to stop a developer building 200-odd houses on a site above the towns, yet just down the road there is a half-finished building site which no one seems able to do anything about and has not for the past five years. We and the country have an empty homes problem. No, not only an empty homes but an empty buildings problem. Dotted around our borough are homes and buildings crying out to be developed that are not just recently empty but in many cases have been empty for over 10 years with their original use long gone. This is repeated all over the country.

We have also, so we are told, a large workforce of young and old without jobs. Money can be found, so we are told, for a grand railway scheme HS2, which is to cost billions but only piddling amounts can be found to correct the homes problem, and even then we are told by our council there is no money to renovate some houses in this ward even though they own the properties!

As I have stated previously, I intend to stand as an Independent candidate for Brierfield and Nelson North County Division as this is one of a number of issues which none of the various party candidates, local or national, seem to regard as of sufficient importance or concern. Lots of schemes maps and plans, little action.

It is not, however, only official bodies who are lacking drive. What is the point of filling in application after application for them to be rejected time and again? Why not get together with about a dozen of your friends, buy up one of these empty houses? They are cheap enough. Renovate it and then auction it off and repeat the process. Hard work. Probably. Not trained to do that? So what! Advice and help is widely available. In a year’s time an influx of Bulgarians and Romanians and will be looking for work. They have decided that rather than sit at home in a far poorer country than ours, to get up and leave home. Members of UKIP are appalled and see them as a threat, and yes there will be some dodgy characters among them. We have some of our own. But most will be just wanting to better themselves because their government will not or cannot support them. Should we not have the same attitude yet do it in our own country?

DEREK E. MANN

Independent Representative