Unmesh Desai: 'Councils should be at forefront of tackling housing crisis'

Four homes have been recovered (Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

'We should continue to back councils so they are placed at the forefront of tackling the housing crisis' - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

It was fantastic to see the borough recently given over £91 million in City Hall funding to deliver 550 new affordable and social rent homes.

We should continue to back councils so they are placed at the forefront of tackling the housing crisis and the government must bear this in mind in the lead up to October’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Staying on the topic of housing, I recently visited the site of the TwelveTrees Park development, which will transform the area around West Ham Station and deliver 3,838 new homes, of which 40 per cent will be affordable for local people, alongside a community space, new shops and a campus for the East London Science School.

One of the things I missed most during the lockdowns was getting out and about, meeting constituents and community groups in person.

Over the summer, Newham’s Housing Services has been running a series of community days to engage with council estate residents across the borough.

I joined the ones in East Ham, Forest Gate and Plaistow and was pleased to see the community coming together and mingling again, along with stalls providing housing assistance and encouraging the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine.

I was also delighted to attend an awards ceremony sponsored by Berkeley Homes and London Tea Exchange at the Impression Events Venue, with MP Stephen Timms, local councillors and 200 other guests, to celebrate the vital work of volunteers and community organisations during the pandemic.

I would like to pay particular tribute to the Manor Park-based Malayalee Association of the UK, which played a crucial role in providing food parcels to the most vulnerable in the community over lockdown.

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It was great to join its annual Onam harvest festival event at the Trinity Centre.

Finally, I have recently been in touch with constituents who have expressed concerns about fly-tipping, prostitution and the decline of our local high streets.

I am currently flagging these issues with the council and will continue to do what I can to help.