by Alex Folkes
A think tank closely aligned to the Conservative Party has today produced a report which could see some of the most expensive parts of Cornwall ‘cleansed’ of social housing.
The Policy Exchange report, which has been enthusiastically endorsed by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, recommends that, when social housing in an expensive area becomes vacant then it should be sold off and the money used to buy or build social housing in cheaper places.
Note that ‘becoming vacant’ often means the tenant dying even if they still have family who live in the home.
The biggest problem with this plan is that it will lead to many towns and villages – particularly coastal communities – becoming completely free of social housing.
Low income families from the area will lose any chance they had of getting a home in the village, even if they have lived there all their lives, and will be forced to move elsewhere. In many cases, the property will simply become yet another second home.
Instead, we should be looking at genuinely mixed communities in all parts of Cornwall.
Nowhere should become a social housing ghetto and nowhere should be cleansed of all social housing.
Andrew George, Lib Dem MP for St Ives and West Cornwall said this on the plans:
“If they really want to ‘socially cleanse’ our villages of local families who are most in need of affordable housing then they’ll have a fight on their hands.”