Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson urges city council to not sign deal with property firm after families evicted from homes
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has urged the city council to not sign a deal with a property firm after families were told they were being evicted from their homes.
The council is set to pay nearly £1 million to use 74 properties at St Michael’s Gate as temporary accommodation for homeless people.
However, the properties are only becoming available due to tenants at the homes being evicted.
The council argues that the homes would almost certainly be used as temporary accommodation for another local authority if it did not sign up to do the deal.
And as first revealed by the Peterborough Telegraph, the council is desperate for new places to put up homeless families after being forced to house some at a Travelodge, costing the authority a projected £1.4 million for the current financial year.
Mr Jackson said: “I’m seriously concerned the council is making a big error. It needs to find out the housing situation of each tenancy which is ending before signing the deal.
“I know there’s pressure on housing but it does not seem this is the way to proceed, to evict tenants for a short-term fix after a spike in homelessness.
“It’s unfair and the council needs to hold off on its plans to sign the contract with the company. These are working people with children.
“It seems foolish to make a large number of people potentially homeless.”
Liberal Democrat city councillor Darren Fower was even more scathing about the deal.
He said: “This is a disgusting and disturbing plan of action by the Tory-led city council.
“I can just about handle their regular and embarrassing undertakings which help give our city the title of Pottyborough, but this latest situation is morally wrong.
“We need houses, we need them now, we need them to be affordable and we need to learn from the Tories’ mistake of flogging off their council stock all those years ago.”
Councillor David Seaton, the council’s cabinet member for resources, has given the go ahead for a three-year lease with Stef and Philips, with a break clause at the end of the second year.
The lease will cost the council £966,337 per year.
However, the council said it found out yesterday that the firm which owns the properties is actually Paul Simon Magic Homes Investments.
Mr Jackson has been vocally critical of the council in recent weeks, in particular over the rise in homelessness in Peterborough.
The council has blamed government reforms for people struggling to find a home, a claim the government calls “misleading.”
Mr Jackson and the council leader Councillor John Holdich have also exchanged sharp words over the matter, with the MP.