Row over building council housing

Cllr Mahabadi
Cllr Mahabadi
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A row over whether council housing should be built in Peterborough led to accusations that the Conservatives are “scared” and that Labour need to “get real”.

The debate at Full Council last week came on the back of a council report which said social housing was best delivered through Medesham Homes - a joint development company between the local authority and Cross Keys Homes - and not through new council housing.

The report had been commissioned following a motion in January from Labour and Co-operative member Cllr Matthew Mahabadi.

Speaking at the debate, Cllr Mahabadi said: “Are we so weak that we cannot take these decisions in-house anymore? Where is the vision?

“It seems to me that this administration is too scared to explore the options, too scared to do the job of building homes, too scared to think with ambition and, frankly, it is up to an incoming Labour administration to do it instead – and we will do that.”

The decision to set up Medesham Homes was approved two years ago. Currently 29 homes are being built in Midland Road, West Town, while just under 200 units are at the feasibility stage.

Peterborough is also scheduled to receive £24 million for affordable housing from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “Oh ye of short memory. All I need to say is ‘Blair’ and ‘Brown’. Their Labour governments build fewer council houses than any government since the war and that is shameful for a Labour government.

“We only got 50 council houses in this city during their term when we got 175 during Mrs Thatcher’s term. Get real.”