Letter of the week: 'Sunderland needs more social and affordable housing now'

More than 100 houses are to be shortly built in a currently derelict area of Pennywell.
More than 100 houses are to be shortly built in a currently derelict area of Pennywell.

We are in the middle of a national housing crisis, with record numbers of homeless on our streets and many more young people hidden from these statistics because they sofa surf around friends flats or are put up by parents.

These young adults would benefit from having a home that offers the independence that any adult deserves and encourages their personal development.

However, from last week’s Echo, and in his speeches at the last two full council meetings, Conservative group leader Robert Oliver asserts that what we really need is more executive homes.

As we all are aware, these typically four or five-bedroom executive houses, are invariably built on precious green field or greenbelt sites.

Perhaps Councillor Oliver would identify the green spaces he suggests are built on? Residents in the affected wards need to know.

Meanwhile Sunderland has more than 2,000 people on the housing waiting list, 46% needing houses and 29% older people hoping for bungalows.

Sunderland Labour Council vehicle Gentoo has not built a single social home in Sunderland in the last 10 years.

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Indeed from this week’s Echo, the council homes Gentoo demolished on the Pennywell brownfield site are to be entirely replaced with private homes.

Gentoo has only committed to build the minimum 10% new social homes that legislation requires of them on other sites.

Is this legitimate policy for a “not-for-profit housing association”?

I suggest that both Sunderland Labour Council and the Conservative opposition have housing policies that are unfit for purpose.

Housing policy should be based on identified need. Both parties policies presently seem focused on money making schemes with scant regard to our green spaces.

The primary and urgent new housing needs in Sunderland are for a mix of social housing and affordable new homes for young people to buy.

Malcolm Bond,
Fulwell ward,
Liberal Democrats.