Action on housing for people with disabilities urged by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
PUBLISHED: 07:05 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 21 September 2020
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People with disabilities urgently need to be considered as the government addresses the housing crisis, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has urged.
Wheelchair user Cllr Glyn Hayes said, while bringing the motion to full council on Thursday, that over 400,000 people with disabilities in the UK live in poor and unsuitable accommodation.
The Labour councillor, who represents Hatfield Central, said there are no targets to build accessible homes and homes suitable for adaption.
He said: “In the recently published ‘planning for the future’ white paper there is no mention of the needs of disabled people or the need to provide homes suitable for an ageing population.”
He added that since then there has been an accessible strategy published by the government but points out that this does not go far enough to address the issue.
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The leader of the council Cllr Tony Kingsbury, a Conservative, agreed with the motion but had “some ideas for changing it” – notably pointing out the government’s own paper on accessible homes and sharing the figures of Welwyn Hatfield’s need, as the Labour councillor urged for research on this issue.
Cllr Kingsbury also wanted a change to the wording of a letter to housing and local government secretary Robert Jenrick MP, which formed part of the motion.
Executive member for housing and community Cllr Nick Pace highlighted the work done by the council on this issue, namely the affordable housing developments for those on the council’s housing list at Ludwick Way, Howlands House and Hazel Grove.
Jane Quinton, a Lib Dem councillor, recognised the work already done in WGC on tackling the issue of affordable housing in the borough, but explained that a lot of housing need was up in the air as there has been no agreement on Welwyn Hatfield’s draft Local Plan.
Councillor Steven Markiewicz, a Conservative, said without Cllr Hayes and his unique experience as a person living with disabilities they would be less aware of what the council should be doing to help those less fortunate, Cllr Markiewicz added: “We want to do what is right for people who need our help.”
The motion was agreed by all with amendments and a report will be prepared for the cabinet housing and planning panel.
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