Councillor Kevin Price, Labour’s Lead for Housing on Cambridge City Council, has spoken out after uncovering a huge backlog of fencing repairs on council estates. Officers at the Council have confirmed this was estimated at over £1 million some four years ago and that the backlog is now so large that data is no longer collected and analysed centrally. City Councillors will debate the Liberal Democrat plans for the 2014/15 Budget for the Housing Revenue Account, which manages all its council homes, at Guildhall tonight (27 February).
Councillor Price said: “This is a truly shocking figure and represents years of underinvestment in fencing by the Liberal Democrats. Last month when challenged Councillor Smart said that fencing on council estates was a ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessity. Tenants don’t see it that way. Fencing on council owned open spaces is not only falling down and not repaired or replaced but is being left to rot on the ground for weeks and sometimes months on end. Rent is being increased yet again this year way above inflation and tenants are getting a very poor deal from it and being asked to pay for their own fencing to boot.”
Cllr Price added: “We want to see a complete overhaul of the capital plan and a new City Homes Estate Improvement Programme to restore pride in our council estates across the City. Council homes are very important to ensure as many residents as possible are not priced out of housing in Cambridge and our management should set an example not show a lack of care. Tenants have already said they agreed with Labour’s plans for rents and our council estates only to have their voice ignored.”