Stewart Jackson has heavily criticised the city council for putting on hold a scheme to charge some of Peterborough’s landlords.
The controversial Selective Licensing Scheme was surprisingly deferred last night (Wednesday, September 16) just a week after it was announced.
The scheme was set to charge landlords to house tenants in Gladstone, Millfield, New England and Eastfield.
Its aim was to tackle rogue landlords, but detractors claimed it unfairly targeted Asian landlords - who are prevalent in the target area - and would mean additional costs would be passed on to tenants.
Landlords also queried why the scheme was only proposed for one part of the city and not made city wide.
However, Peterborough MP Mr Jackson is a big proponent of the scheme and has hit out at his fellow Conservatives on the council for not pushing it through in its current form.
He said: “This delay is very bad news. It was announced without any consultation. Even the Deputy Leader was kept in the dark.
“In my view the city council is either incompetent or incapable of implementing a scheme which has been enshrined in legislation since 2004.
“Local residents and vulnerable tenants will feel very let down.
“I’m writing to the Chief Executive seeking a proper explanation.”
The decision to defer the scheme was announced by Councillor Peter Hiller, the council’s cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and economic development, yesterday evening.
Cllr Hiller claimed the deferment was needed to take into account new statistical evidence and forthcoming government legislation, but he stressed his determination to follow through with a new scheme to tackle rogue landlords.
Landlords who would have been affected by the Selective Licensing Scheme were pleased with the deferment and are hoping to be involved in discussions for the new proposals.
Cllr John Holdich, leader of the council, said: “The city council is completely committed to tackling the issue of rogue and criminal landlords and we continue to believe that selective licensing is the right solution.
“However, it’s clear that things have changed since we started this process two years ago and this has to be acknowledged.
“The Conservative government is providing additional powers to local councils in order to tackle criminal landlords.
“In addition, the criteria against which a scheme can be introduced have been widened to include, for example, areas affected by an influx of migration.
“As Councillor Hiller made clear last night, because of the changes in legislation we will now incorporate these new powers to create a better and potentially broader licensing scheme – assessing all areas of the city to see if evidence would support wider implementation.
“I am of course aware that the MP is keen to introduce selective licensing but I believe that the new improved scheme that we will develop, taking full advantage of new legislation, will be more effective in tackling criminal landlords, protecting vulnerable tenants and supporting the many good landlords in the city – and will be best for Peterborough as a whole.”