Planning and Affordable Housing.
There are at least two partly constructed buildings in the ward that have been either built too high, in the wrong place or not to plan in some way. It appears that once built there is little we as residents can do to get them changed. In Waddington Ave they have a fighting fund to challenge the developers. Its time we campaigned to get the law changed so that decisions like this can be challenged without the council being faced with a massive legal bill which in effect means they will not challenge them. Residents also need guidance on how to go about these challenges and real leadership from our councillors on these issues. The law needs to change to give residents back the right to have these developments knocked down if they are not built to plan and planning applications should reflect more on the views of the residents that these developments affect.
The old miners’ maisonettes on the Durham Estate are coming down but the site is a miserable outlook for the residents still living there. Could a candidate who has been involved with this project give an update on progress and an indication when re building will start? Although many Sandwell homes properties are being upgraded many people in our ward still do not have double glazing. We need to be campaigning to speed this up and to try to develop schemes so that older owner occupiers can keep their properties up to date without being ripped off by dodgy equity release schemes. If we are not careful Newton will become the apartment’s capital of Sandwell. There are no developments in our ward for older people and there must be if the area is to remain viable for them to continue to live here.
We have to face up to the fact that the council has little interest in our ward except to do the minimum it is required to collect our council tax to invest in other labour stronghold wards. I would like to see our candidates recognising this and actively campaigning for A BETTER DEAL FOR NEWTON. IT IS LONG OVERDUE.