Matt Rodda for Reading East

Standing up for Reading

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Housing hit by Government policy

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Reading has lost dozens of reasonably priced flats due to the Conservative Government's policy of allowing developers to convert office blocks to flats without providing any cheaper flats for people on modest incomes as part of the rebuilding work.

I asked about this issue at the recent full council meeting and was given the shocking reply about the scale of the losses to Reading residents.

This comes at a time of a severe shortage of affordable housing and rising prices which push home ownership out of the reach of many families.

It is deeply disappointing that once again the Government has decided to put the interests of a lucky few developers above those of most people.

This also impacts on other residents - to add insult to injury the council has also lost around £5 million of developers' contributions to pay for improvements to roads, parks and schools. So all residents have lost out as people looking to buy a place of their own.

This valuable funding would have been available if the Government had applied the normal rules for developers' contributions which are apply in most developements.

And, to make matters worse at a time of Government cuts, the council has also not been able to gain any planning fees for the conversions as they no longer need planning permission.

While I am pleased to see more housing in some former office blocks the Government's policy has hit Reading hard and is deeply unfair to local residents.

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