As of April 2012, Ealing Council had nearly 15,000 people on its housing waiting list and demand for social and affordable housing in Ealing remains massively high.
The Liberal Democrats believe we need more investment in house building to tackle this shortage and to give the economy a much needed boost. Mrs Thatcher's Tory Government encouraged Council tenants to buy their own homes, but it handicapped local authorities like Ealing by not allowing them to use the income to reinvest in their housing stock leaving councils with a chronic shortage and ageing stock. Investment by the New Labour Government in building new social housing was too little, too late.
The Liberal Democrats in the coalition Government have given local authorities much greater control over their housing finances and, as a result, more flexibility in managing and improving their housing stock to meet future demand. The Government has also allocated £5.1 million in New Homes Bonus grants to Ealing in 2013/14 for delivering 1335 new homes and bringing back 281 empty homes back into use including 670 affordable units.
Sadly, Ealing Council appears to be wedded to pretty much building on sites along the Uxbridge Road corridor. Homes are needed across the borough and not just along the Uxbridge Road.
Ealing Council for a long time has not used government powers as much as it should have, to bring back more homes into use. Only six months ago there were nearly 3,000 empty private properties, and many had been empty for over three years! These buildings are an eyesore and attract anti-social behaviour.
One example of this is the former Henry Paul Undertakers property at 3-7 Uxbridge Road in Hanwell which has been vacant for more than two years. The council should be doing more to bring sites like this back into use, but until my colleague Liberal Democrat Councillor Nigel Bakhai contacted them, Council officers had not even identified this site in a very prominent location as an empty property!
It is also crucial that Ealing Council maintains its housing stock in good state of repair but the last two housing repair contractors have failed to deliver on this front. These two contacts handed out by Ealing Council to Keirs, and to Morrisons, did not deliver as they were expected to. Council tenants deserve better.
What is your experience of housing in Ealing? Let me know your thoughts by email to: email@example.com
Councillor Gary Malcolm,
Leader Ealing Liberal Democrat Group