Housing News

First New Council Homes for 30 Years

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Housing News |

Birmingham City Council’s first new homes for nearly 30 years are nearing completion on the site of our first land squat on the Pershore Road, Edgbaston.

 

Thanks to Councillor John Lines, Cabinet member for Housing, under the banner of Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, new tenants will from today, move into their brand new designer homes which are currently being built by Lovell Homes.

The homes are of an exceptional standard and size and are a credit to Cllr Lines, and his housing team. The attention to detail and eco-friendly facilities are first-rate. 

 John  has kept his promise to Birmingham residents to build 500 new homes in the first year.

Despite the recession and substantial cutbacks the Council are now allowed to keep Capital receipts from Land sales to build new homes. In addition the £57M Housing Revenue Account  which was stolen from Birmingham by the previous Labour Government has been handed back to Birmingham by the Conservative led coalition Government.

John Lines has promised to continue to build throughout Birmingham thus ensuring the massive demand for Socially rented properties will start to be addressed.

 We accept this is only a  start but it is significant that John’s persistence has paid off, and this year alone will see 617 properties either completed or started. 

 The homes feature the latest heating systems and rainwater recycling facilities and would not look out-of-place in the pages of glossy magazines on the open market, a far cry from Council homes when they were first built.

       It is a proud day for Birmingham to see homes of such quality available for rent from the local authority. 

 A big THANK YOU goes to John Lines, his dedicated housing team and to Lovell Homes.

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Parliamentary and Local Council Elections 2010

Posted on April 22, 2010. Filed under: Housing News |

Justice Not Crisis Members stand as Green Party Candidates.

After years of an ineffective Labour Government who have continually taken £MILLIONS from Birmingham Housing Tenants JNC members who had previously Supported Labour have decided to stand as Council Candidates in Areas where we feel the Labour Vote can be reduced to allow another Party to win that seat. In Kingstanding and Brandwood JNC urge voters to Vote Conservative in other wards we urge our readers to vote most effectively to remove the Labour Councillor/MP.

The Green Party are not standing a local or Parliamentary Candidate in Erdington and JNC would urge  Green voters/supporters to Vote Conservative. 

The Conservative -Lib-Dem controlled Council have finally started to build more social housing in Birmingham and the first new homes will be ready for occupation in 2011. The Conservative Party have listened to the people of Birmingham and Acted.

Work has also commenced on Pershore Road Edgbaston the site of our first squat which will see new Council homes for rent, and our second Squat The Firebird which will see a mix of Socially rented and shared ownership homes available next year.

JNC members standing as Green Party Local Election Candidates are :-

Lee Moore      Kingstanding.

Colette Tedstone  Shard End

Kirsty Tedstone   Lozells and East Handsworth

A full list of all candidates can be found on the link below :

http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Elections%2FPageLayout&cid=1223092560470&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FInlineWrapper

In Moseley and Kings Heath JNC  urge supporters to Vote Liberal democrat.

Supporters who Live in Solihull in the Smiths Wood or Chelmsley Wood wards are urged to Vote Green, JNC fully support the Green Party who  are confident of gains from the BNP and Labour in these Wards.

We would like to thank the hundreds of supporters who wish to see  more Socially rented housing, better standards in homes and resident led regeneration projects,  for the many messages of support we continue to get.

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Labour Government continue to take money from Birmingham Tenants

Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: Housing News |

As Birmingham City Council get set to announce rent increases of 3.1% for their tenants. It emerges that despite promises by Housing Minister John Healey to scrap the Housing Revenue Account Birmingham tenants will still have £millions taken from their rents by this appalling Labour Government.

In June 2009 John Healey, Labour’s Housing Minister, stated that the practise of taking money from Councils would stop, yet 27 pence of every £1 rent paid by Birmingham’s council tenants will still go to the Government.

This will severely hamper the Council’s Housing Department’s  attempt to build more Council Homes.

 Birmingham Council’s Conservative Liberal coalition have done what has been asked of them and started to build more homes and we again congratulate John Lines for that.

 Councils need financial independence to invest in their housing stock and build more homes. Labour’s refusal to act slows this progress.

When you consider that it was John Healey who last year stated “repossession is the best option” We are sure you will agree that he and this Labour Government have lost touch with reality.

Remember  when you vote in the forthcoming General and Local Elections “Labour isn’t working”

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COUNCIL TO BUILD NEW HOMES ON FIRST SQUAT SITE

Posted on July 25, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

Birmingham’s Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor John Lines has announced plans to build 34 new Council homes on the land on Pershore Road (Site of the John Lines homeless Village) as part of the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT).

Architects have produced initial plans for houses and flats on the site which will be fuel and water efficient and available to people applying for Council Housing or on the waiting list.

The plans are currently being distributed for consultation and it is anticipated a formal planning application will be submitted at the end of July 2009. This is 9 months after the initial land squat highlighted this area as a site that could be used for social housing and excellent news for Birmingham and the people waiting for homes. This is one of many schemes planned that will see hundreds of new COUNCIL  homes built in Birmingham.

WELL DONE JOHN LINES , and thank you, you are showing that you and the Conservative Liberal coalition are listening to the concerns of Birmingham Residents and are taking the steps to reduce the housing shortage.

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Optima Cash Crisis ? New homes in doubt!

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

News has reached Justice Not Crisis that Optima Community Association have failed in their bid for Social housing Grant to build the promised new homes on the site of the former Firebird public House.

Forward allocation Pool Applications submitted to the Governments Homes and Communities Agency(HCA) by Optima have received the reply  “It is considered that sufficient support for social housing has been made to the Attwood Green regeneration”

The agency which has a budget of £5 Billion per year was set up in December 2008 joining forces with the Tenants services Authority.

The remit of the new organisation was to create  “opportunities:

  • for people to live in affordable homes in places that they want to live in, and
  • for local authorities and communities to deliver the ambitions they have for their area”

Despite the support of Birmingham City Council it now seems that the new homes will not be built along with 47  homes for rent on the nearby Woodview Estate Edgbaston (Also managed by Optima)

This is another example of  Government promises to increase the number of Socially Rented Homes only for them to do nothing.  We have previously reported that the Government steals cash from Birmingham Council’s Housing revenue Account to subsidise other Cities.

After a 16 week occupation of the Firebird Pub this is a significant blow to the chances of increasing much needed rented homes in Birmingham. The Labour Government has failed Birmingham again!

The HCA have indicated to Optima that they may consider the Firebird site if the Socially rented houses are changed for shared ownership (Homebuy)  and then only if  Optima pay for them until the HCA have the money next year!

This is of no use whatsoever to people on benefits or low incomes in desperate need of a house as they will not get a mortgage even to buy half a house!

We will continue to monitor the situation and update as we know more …..

Some Good News

In March we highlighted the fact that there are thousands of empty properties in Birmingham and asked Birmingham Council to use its powers to bring them back into use. Birmingham City Council have just been praised for reducing the number of empty properties to 9,000 as reported on BBC’s Midlands Today on 25th June 2009.

This is a major step forward and we have to again congratulate Councillor John Lines and his Housing Department for this achievement. This is a significant start keep up the good work and ensure that powers available to you to force owners to give up properties empty for more than 6 months are used if necessary.

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EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 4TH JUNE 2009

Posted on May 14, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives rocked by expenses scandal! Don’t let the BNP in by the back door :

VOTE GREEN THURSDAY 4th JUNE 2009

FELICITY NORMAN GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE  X

FELICITY NORMAN GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE X

Felicity Norman, Green Party Candidate, has been a supporter of our Campaign for more socially rented properties and Council houses to be built. She visited us at the Firebird and supported the demolition and building of 30 new properties (Work has already started!) She also visited the Masefield Estate in Kings Norton to see first hand some of the dire conditions Council tenants in Birmingham live in. The estate is currently undergoing major refurbishment work.

The BNP poses a serious threat at the forthcoming Euro elections.  The voting system makes it harder for the bigger parties to effectively fight the BNP.  The last seat in the Euros normally goes to one of the smaller parties.  With UKIP on the decline, this is likely to be a race between the Greens and the BNP.  The choice couldn’t be clearer!  The combined Green-RESPECT vote from the last elections is 7.6% compared to the BNP’s 7.5%.  It could be either the Greens or the BNP for that last seat.

Salma Yaqoob, RESPECT Birmingham City Councillor, and Party Leader, is also urging support for Felicity Norman and the Green Party at the European Elections. 

Felicity Norman is married to a journalist and has two daughters. They live on a smallholding in Herefordshire and Felicity teaches part time. She also works as a volunteer in the local community shop. Felicity has travelled widely and worked in several different countries. She is a member of campaigning groups such as Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International. She has helped to organise workshops and seminars on peace and environmental issues. For relaxation, Felicity enjoys walking with her family and gardening.

Local Campaigner

Felicity has worked with a number of voluntary organisations, including Voluntary Action, Citizens Advice Bureau and Shopmobility, where she has been a trustee for many years. Felicity is also:
• a director at the Robert Owen Society (a co-operative organisation supporting teacher training)
• a secondary school governor
• organiser of Leominster Apple Fair, the Fair encourages support for local food.
Felicity was twice elected to Leominster District Council, serving for seven years. She is a supporter of several peace, justice and environmental campaigning organisations.

            See more of Felicity’s work and that of the Green Party click here.

 Track Record of Action

Felicity has campaigned on a range of issues for the West Midlands for the past 25 years. She has stood as a candidate at European, national and local levels. For seven years, Felicity was a District Councillor.
She is especially interested in food, farming and rural/urban links. Felicity has campaigned for small, family farms. In addition, she has worked for better animal welfare standards, allotments and support for local, organic food.
Felicity has also been Green Party Speaker on Agriculture. She wants to ‘green the EU’ and make it more open and accountable to local people.

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WARWICKSHIRE CRICKET CLUB – Update

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

Communication with WCCC has started today and we are pleased to report that our members will be able to collect their belonging which have been stored for them by the club.

We are also delighted to report that WCCC, subject to discussions with their committee, are happy to discuss any outstanding issues with us including our repayment of Court costs to WCCC.

We have today instructed our Solicitor that we will not proceed with actions previously commenced in relation to 312 Pershore Road.

We believe that WCCC are committed to talking to Local residents and groups to resolve the issues that will see test cricket continue at Edgbaston.

We reaffirm our statement that we believe it is vital for the redevelopment and improvement of the grounds and stadium to go ahead together with press and hospitality facility improvements. Our concerns regarding the density of housing and leisure facilities remain but we are now confident these issues can be address with residents and local groups.

We, like WCCC, are committed to seeing excellent sporting  facilities at Edgbaston and the revenue that these will bring to Birmingham.

Thank you WCCC for your prompt response to our correspondance today. 

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CRICKET CLUB VICTORY AT THIRD ATTEMPT

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

High Court Enforcement officers acting on behalf of Warwickshire Cricket Club succeeded in taking possession of 318 Pershore Road at the third attempt today.

After a failed attempt at 730AM on Wednesday 6th May 2009 when protesters took to the roof Enforcement Officers returned at 1330 hrs today in forced accompanied by West Midlands Police, a Crane and climbing experts.

In an operation that took two hours to complete roof top protesters were winched off the roof by bailiffs in climbing gear assisted by the crane.

Inside protesters had locked themselves in, chaining themselves together either side of the internal walls.

Police officers entered the building with bailiffs and used excessive force to physically remove the demonstrators.

Police officers, in particular, threatened the occupants who were verbally and physically abused by the Police causing substancial bruising and cuts to one young girl and male protestor.  Both occupants were dragged out of the building by police officers and removed to the street outside.

Rules regarding safe removal and necessary force were ignored by the officers who ignored pleas from the occupants to limit the pain endured.

The attending Police Seargent found it necessary to call an ambulance for the demonstrators.

Legal advice has been sought and JNC are considering their options. A complaint will be made to West Midlands Police and Criminal proceedings have not been ruled out.

A new premises has been occupied and details will be released later today. Our campaign will continue until Private property owners in particular put void properties to good use.

Birmingham City Council are at last starting to tackle the issue and as reported recently are currently bidding for £100Million of money to kick start their house building programme.

Pictures and videos will be uploaded to this site shortly.

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BIRMINGHAM IS FRONT RUNNER IN BID TO BUILD NEW HOMES.

Posted on May 1, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

Inside housing today carried the story that Cllr John Lines’ housing department will bid for the entire £100 Million pot made available by the Government in last weeks budget.

Calling the amount “pathetic” John Lines stated that “The Government should be ashamed of themselves”  and added “we’ll go for the lot”

We agree with Cllr Lines the money will not meet the desire for Council’s to build and would emphasise there is no guarantee that Birmingham will get any money the £100M is a national allocation. Cornwall Council, for example are looking to fund a £120M project for 1000 new homes, and Broxtowe Council will bid for £1m.

We have often been at odds with John Lines and now find ourselves congratulating him on the services given to 7 of our homeless people (Friday 24th April) in Finding accommodation in a few hours and agreeing with him against the Government.

Well done Cllr Lines, our only other suggestion would be that you could still sell some of the land you have vacant to Housing Associations who have their own money and grants to build homes too.

Cllr Lines has obviously listened to the arguments for more housing and taken then on board, for that we applaud him. Finally the situation looks set to start improving.  The Government should now take note and afford more assistance to Local authorities to build the homes that are desperately needed.

Our readers we feel sure will keep watch and judge on results.

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POLICE EVICTION FIRST PHOTOS AND VIDEO

Posted on April 29, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

West Midlands Police categorically denied in their press statement that police officers were deployed with riot shields, at the Beechwood Hotel eviction.  The pictures and video on this site clearly show a police officer with a riot shield strapped to his arm. Also shown is a police line, presumably to prevent squatters from re-entering the building.

This is a blatant abuse of police powers: the Criminal Law Act, codes of conduct for police officers and bailiffs quite clearly state that a police officer’s role in civil evictions is purely and only to prevent a breach of the peace. They are not there to provide security to the building, they are not there to aggravate the sitaution in an intimidating manner, ie. walking around with riot shields, and they are certainly not there to “support” bailiffs.

Several witnesses clearly indicate that police officers were intimidating, formed a line across the car park to prevent re-entry to the building, were abusive to squatters inside the building, and, in the case of one girl, barged her down the stairs with a riot shield. In addition, witnesses state the police officers were walking around inside the hotel with truncheons drawn. That is not the behaviour of a body of people whose only function is to prevent a breach of the peace.

A letter of complaint has now been sent to the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police, the Chair of the Police committee, and the Police Complaints Authority.

Our solicitors are currently considering legal action against the West Midlands Police force.

police line


 

police riot shield

riot shield

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