Strood South candidate, Steve Dyke, on local housing priorities

Please see below a letter that Green Strood South candidate, Steve Dyke, wrote to the Medway Messenger.  A shortened version of this was printed in the paper on Friday.

***

Dear Editor,

With one eye on the Strood South by-election, Roy Freshwater again used his Party People column (29th September, Medway Messenger) to raise the need for the Council to focus on the housing crisis in the Medway Towns, but seems to be misled in thinking that EU and international migration is a major factor. According to the supporting evidence provided by Medway Council as part of the recent Local Plan consultation, domestic migration from neighbouring towns has had far more impact than international immigration here in recent years. [1]

In her recent letter to your paper (16th September), MP Kelly Tolhurst gave a panicky message suggesting that the Tories are building a case for concreting over our green spaces, while, as part of her Strood South by-election campaign, Conservative Josie Iles has recently championed the new Redrow development at Temple Waterfront in the ward [2]. This is despite the likelihood, in keeping with other recent new housing developments, that the majority of the homes built there will be too expensive to meet the needs of local people.

According to the North Kent Strategic Housing and Economic Needs Assessment [1] (used by the Council to predict housing need in the Medway Towns), from around 2011 there had been a stark rise in inward domestic migration from neighbouring towns and South East London. Before this, the net direction had been outward. Could it be that this is a direct response to the building of costly new developments such as that planned for Temple Waterfront?

We will never meet the housing needs of Medway people if we allow our valuable land to go to building executive homes that the majority of the local population cannot afford. We are also at risk of destroying our rich local natural environment in an effort to chase a goal that is forever moving – fuelled by political decisions which have led to a decline in decent social homes and encouraged financial housing bubbles. Shortages are not simply a result of population figures outweighing the numbers of homes available, but other factors, like income inequality, play a part and must be taken into full consideration when planning future allocations.

It is shocking that in the latest housing report by the Office of National Statistics, Medway featured as having the biggest shortfall in social housing in the country! [3]. A clear objective therefore must be a focus on putting this right. The way forward must be based on a clear understanding of the relationship between social, economic and environmental factors, but I fear that many of our current and prospective councillors have the wrong priorities.

Yours,

Steve Dyke

Green Party candidate in Strood South by-election

Notes:

[1] http://www.medway.gov.uk/pdf/North%20Kent%20SHENA%20Baseline%20report.pdf

(page 19)

[2] https://rochesterandstroodconservatives.org.uk/blog/temple-wharf/

[3] http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/housingsummarymeasuresanalysis/2015-08-05#social-housing-shortfall

 

 

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