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MP calls for housing to be a government priority

Helen Clark MP and Minster chairman Peter Sidebottom present a ceremonial ‘key of the door’ to Paula Cann, one of the first tenants at the four lifetime homes at Sutton Court, Werrington, Peterborough.

Peterborough MP Helen Clark has called for the government to demonstrate the importance of providing more rented houses by making the Housing Minister a Cabinet post.

Speaking at the official hand-over of Peterborough’s first ‘lifetime homes – houses that can be adapted to the changing needs of their residents – Mrs Clark pledged to use procedures such as early day motions and Parliamentary questions to urge the government to give housing the priority it deserves.

After describing how both Labour and Conservative governments in the past have spearheaded big housing programmes, she warned: “Politicians of the future who fail to give priority to housing do so at their peril. Housing provision is directly related to other social issues such as health, crime and law and order.

“We need to make the Minister for Housing a Cabinet post to give housing the priority it deserves.”

Praising the lifetime homes development, Mrs Clark said her recent experience with a broken ankle had emphasised for her the value of house designs that permitted easy internal alterations to meet the needs of people who may develop disabilities.

Minster General Housing Association has built the four four-bedroom houses at Sutton Court, Skaters Way, Werrington, Peterborough based on a concept developed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The first tenants were nominated by Peterborough City Council, which supported Minster’s bid for a Housing Corporation grant of £106,000 towards the total construction costs of £263,000.

Minster chairman Peter Sidebottom welcomed Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Comprehensive Spending Review decision to allocate an extra £1.4 billion to provide up to 200,000 affordable new homes for public sector workers, especially in the South-East.

He said the lifetime homes project demonstrated the Association’s willingness to work with local authorities and voluntary sector organisations in providing a broad range of good quality housing to meet the various needs of people throughout the region.

The lifetime homes were the fourth and final stage in Minster developments within the area, said Mr Sidebottom, following the earlier completion of flats for single people, a sheltered complex for the elderly and a group of bungalows built to full wheelchair access standards.

Lifetime homes are designed with improved accessibility and other features that enable changes to be made to the internal layout so that people who may have progressive disabilities can continue to live in the property rather than having to move to specialist accommodation. The Sutton Court development has received a ‘secured by design’ award from Cambridgeshire Police.

Minister General Housing Association was incorporated in 1976 and manages 1,700 rented homes in an area that includes Peterborough, Huntingdon, Northampton, King’s Lynn, Stamford and Lincoln.

July 2002




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