Paul Stainton: Please revisit this roof-less deal
Ho, ho, ho, stand by your sleighs everyone, it's just eleven, short weeks, until Santa squeezes his rather large derriere down the chimney once again.
Thoughts in your house have probably already turned to puddings, stockings and expensive, electronic gadgets for the little ones, that you can barely afford.
You will tell yourself that it is worth it to see the look on their faces; everything has to be right, from the tree to the trifle, Xmas wouldn’t be Xmas without the perfect amount of cheer, would it?
But as you rush about over the coming weeks to produce your perfect festive season, procuring exactly the right colour tinsel and fighting over the mince pies with the best sell by date, spare a thought for those that don’t have your first world problems.
As you decide between turkey and goose and whether to have red or white wine at the table, just think about those less fortunate than yourself.
Imagine a Christmas where you are not choosing between an Xbox or a PlayStation, Armani or Givenchy; imagine a Christmas where you have received the worst present of all – Eviction.
Tis the season to be jolly, but not for seventy families in Peterborough who, because of a decision by Peterborough City Council, are being forced out of their homes by a property company.
The families in St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell have been left distraught, after letters came through their doors demanding they leave their homes, homes they have improved and spent their hard earned money on, homes they don’t want to leave.
Why is this community being broken up and torn apart? Why do families who have paid their rent and their council tax, face such an uncertain future, so close to Xmas?
Well, let me try and explain and see if you can make sense of it, because I am struggling.
A housing company sells their stock to another housing company, who in turn do a long term deal with Peterborough City Council to house the temporary homeless, who have been recently enjoying the hospitality of Travelodge, at enormous expense to the council.
In order to guarantee this longer term income, said housing company has to evict its current tenants, possibly making some of them homeless.
The council admitted to me on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire this week that it had full knowledge of the property company’s intentions and were happy to go along with this plan.
The Travelodge homeless then move into the empty houses in Parnwell, whilst those evictees who couldn’t afford deposits on new houses, are then looked after by Peterborough City council and possibly given room and board at……you guessed it – Travelodge!
Round and round it goes, it’s like fixing a leaking tap whilst the bath is running over and would be funny did it not concern people’s lives and our council tax money.
These folks have done nothing wrong and don’t deserve to be treated in this inhumane and callous way.
The council will claim they have done nothing wrong but indirectly they are evicting these people and putting one section of society ahead of another.
I have every sympathy for those that find themselves homeless as we are all only a couple of bits of bad luck away from finding ourselves on the streets. But would any of them really want to make somebody else homeless?
I implore all those at Peterborough City Council to examine their conscience; how would you feel if it was your mum or your grandad that was being turfed out of their home this Christmas?
Let’s revisit this deal and think of a better, fairer way, to solve this problem; let’s give the residents of St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell the best Christmas present of all this year – A roof over their heads.