This image is of a recent luxury housing development in Jesmond. In it, Heaton Green activist Andrew Gray is pointing to a car whose numberplate reads 'RANGE ROVER'. The image summarises what is wrong with our housing policy locally and nationally: executive homes taking up excess space and designed for the needs of car drivers not people and families. Meanwhile, many of Heaton's residents are living in flats that are not being properly maintained, paying excessive rents and letting fees for sub-standard private rented accommodation.
Andrew Gray will be joined by other local Greens at the weekend (1st/2nd July), to talk with local residents about the impacts of substandard private rented housing on Heaton's community. How does it affect the look of the streets? What problems arise from the need for renters to move home frequently, either because they cannot get a secure tenancy, or in order to rent a better quality flat? What do Heaton's renters most need to improve their housing conditions?
The latest update from Heaton Greens looks at the needs of private renters more closely, and shows some of the things that could be done locally to improve local housing. In particular, Andrew advocates joined-up working between the Council and community groups like Acorn to strengthen the landlord accreditation system, make it more universal, and ensure that Acorn's Ethical Lettings Charter gets adopted widely by letting agents and landlores within Heaton.
Andrew Gray writes,
"The Grenfell Tower tragedy, and the shocking evidence of mismanagement and failures that have cost so many lives in London, is a stark reminder that housing is one of the most unequal aspects of our unequal society. We could and should do much more to support both social and private renters, and deliver a better neighbourhood for everyone."
The Heaton Greens update on housing is available to download online. If you live in Heaton (chiefly east of Heaton Road and south of the Coast Road), and do not receive your copy, please get in touch with Andrew Gray on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07579 965254.