Wednesday, 22 May 2019
29 March 2011

Cllr James Swindlehurst's Flats Policy Criticised

Labour refuses family homes for Slough's desperate families

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see Labour controlled Slough council is to continue with a policy of encouraging high density housing (high rise flats), as stated by Cllr. Swindlehurst in the Slough Observer dated 18th March 2011.

I am sure that if Cllr. Swindlehurst were to listen to the public that pays his generous allowance (recently increased by 46%), he would find that building yet more high rise flats is not what local residents want. Instead they would prefer see ordinary family housing being constructed. I strongly suspect that Labour will not be declaring its unpopular housing policy in its election literature.

Slough has a young population, yet, for the most part, high rise flats do not make a suitable place to bring up children. It is no wonder that youngsters get involved in crime and drugs when they can only play in public areas on a different floor to their home, instead of the sanctuary of a private garden under the supervision of their parents.

Furthermore, Slough is already vastly overcrowded. Public facilities are at breaking point. This is not helped by Labour shamefully turning a blind eye to the town's 6000 illegal shed dwellers. Local schools are overcrowded and a number are in 'special measures'.

The very worst example of Slough's shocking housing policy is the scheme of flats that recently received planning consent in Chapel Street. This scheme was given planning consent despite the fact that it did not meet the required standards for room sizes or penetration of natural daylight. This was chronicled in Private Eye's Rotten Borough's page after it emerged that the applicant was a prominent member of Slough Labour Party! The 1,598 (currently unviable) flats that may eventually be built on the Thames Valley University site are also thoroughly unwanted by families with children.

I am not saying that the council should have a policy of encouraging mansions to be built. However, ordinary family housing (often modest in scale) with gardens, is what this town requires.

I can only conclude that Labour must think that inflicting unsuitable living conditions on its inhabitants and allowing Slough to degenerate into a slum will encourage the populace to vote Labour.

Labour has clearly learned nothing from the mistakes councils made in the 1960s, else why is it determined to build the slums of tomorrow?

Tristan Miles