Is Bude for the Many or For the Few?

By Bude & Stratton Labour Party Chair. Please note that all political parties and individuals are welcome to contribute their views to our website.

 

The scandal of homelessness and insecurity in Cornwall this Christmas.

Bude Foyer

We live in a beautiful place. Bude and North Cornwall people are the friendliest I have ever known. There is a real sense of local community, especially in the dark winter months. I am lucky. I have a home which is the heart of my family life, a warm and secure place for my children to be themselves. But recently I was given a stark reminder that too many people face housing insecurity and huge challenges this Christmas.

 

Only a few weeks ago Cornwall Council was in the national news for providing a tent to a vulnerable homeless seventeen-year-old because they simply did not have the resources to help him.

 

Yet, ‘Bude Young People’s Foyer’, a block of six studio flats to house and support young homeless people, stands empty, is threatened with demolition and to be replaced with luxury apartments. Can anything demonstrate more the moral bankruptcy of a housing system that rewards the few at the expense of the many?

 

The UK is in middle of a housing crisis. Since 2010, the year ‘Bude Young People’s Foyer’ was built, the number of people sleeping rough in shop doorways and on park benches has more than doubled. More families are living in temporary accommodation: 120,000 children spent last Christmas without a home to call their own. Rents are rising faster than incomes, and new affordable housebuilding is at a 24-year low. But there are always opportunities for the few.

 

In 2013, Cornwall Council closed ‘Bude Young People’s Foyer’ as part of the cuts regime imposed upon them by this Conservative government. The keys were passed on to the Home Group, but they were unable to manage the apartments, and the doors remained locked. There has been a complete failure to make use of local knowledge and find a Bude-based solution. Instead, there is now an opportunity for a private developer to wipe out this inconvenient reminder of need and to replace it with luxury flats in a town where house prices are amongst the highest in Cornwall.

 

The Labour Party is committed to tackling the national housing crisis. We will establish a new Department of Housing to focus on homes for the many, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need. But this Conservative Government may limp on till 2022, and we need brave local solutions that will tackle homelessness and insecurity now.

 

Bude and Stratton Labour Party has campaigned for ‘Bude Young People’s Foyer’ to be refurbished and reopened.  Through Labour Cornwall Councillor Jayne Kirkham, we have been encouraging your local Cornwall Councillors to also campaign for a proper Bude solution. There is a real opportunity here for Cornwall Councillors and the Town Council to work with a variety of cross-agency organisations to provide help for local people in need.

 

 

Far too many people in Bude are in need this Christmas. The gaps in the welfare safety net are getting ever wider under this government. The perfect storm of rising prices, austerity-hit services, and the botched Universal Credit roll-out, means that there are families suffering this winter.

 

How many of us have donated to Bude Food Bank in the run-up to the festive season? Bude people are generous, we look out for each other, but a Food Bank is no solution to the damage done by austerity. We in the Labour Party believe that people making hard choices should not have to ask for charity, that central and local government have a legal, and moral, duty to provide services that offer security and solutions for all.

 

A dynamic County and Town Council approach to issues such as ‘Bude Young People’s Foyer’ is desperately needed.

 

Christmas Time, and a secure warm home in Bude, really should be possible for all of us, and not just for a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Mark Humphreys says:

    This building has been completely wasted for years , we have ex forces living on the streets this place would have been ideal , In the window it says pop up shop available and Ive tried to contact them but no response . Maybe they would rather leave it empty so it can be demolished without a fuss

  • Fred Richens says:

    This is an excellent article. From my window I can see Bude Foyer and for years I have watched its apparently deliberate deterioration, with large windows being left open for months at a time, even in the wettest weather. Pigeons fly in and out on occasions. We need to stop a decent building from rotting away and save it for use by those most in need.
    Cornwall Council sometimes hands over a property to Bude Stratton Town Council, together with a sum of money to help the Town Council manage it. The Library is one example which springs to mind. I wonder if this is possible in this case?

  • Lee Bond says:

    Its a scandal that this place has only been open for a relatively short period of time, and the council are alreadsy allowing it to fall into disrepair. I understand that the council needs to raise money, but any money raised should go be earmarked to places like this anyway for the benefit of young and old homeless people, to give them a chance. We dont need any more luxury apartments in Bude, That people on local wages will probably not get a mortgage for. Lets look after our own.

  • Binzy Reynolds says:

    I agree with everything mentioned in the previous comments and think it is a disgrace this purpose-built block has been empty for so long. Cornwall Council should be ashamed of themselves. Instead of sending councillors abroad to frivolous functions, they should spend our hard-earned council tax on needy people in Cornwall.

    No more luxury apartments please, Cornwall Council. We don’t need them. Spend the cash on those who really need support.

  • SuEveH says:

    Use the retail unit to employ someone who might meet the criteria to live here. So house and employ, raise funds, pay wages. If it were to be used again, then prospective residents could learn skills, or re-use learnt skills to repair and redecorate the place. Perhaps use it as spring-board accommodation, so short term lets or perhaps work on an almshouse principle, with local trustees who support the place and residents.

  • Tony Hamer says:

    If it was an empty property owned by Joe Public the council would still charge Council Tax, I wonder if they are collecting CT off these 6 flats> This an appalling waste of resource, money etc and these flats SHOULD be brought back into use. I am guessing that the housing organisation never paid a bean to the council for these and will probably rake in a load of cash if they sell them to a developer. Scandalous!!!!

  • Fay Lee says:

    Is this really a fine deal? If not surely there must be something we can do??!!

  • Julian Hutchison says:

    I think the only way to get people in power to listen is to disrupt their lives with very large peace protests.

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