By Amelia Washbourne, Director, The Robert Owen Society
I am concerned about the people in poverty and suffering from the effects of deprivation in the South Wye area of Hereford. Across the county there were 18,500 people living in deprived households according to the deprivation index in 2019, and Newton Farm and Golden Post are among the top 25% for the country.
So, whilst waiting for the revised figures, I must ask, what is being done locally to address this problem? There have been new homes built in Newton Farm and Golden Post but does this address the problem?
By building these new homes we have lost social housing. Affordable housing is a pipe dream for those on low incomes, living in poverty. They have debt and would not be able to show they have money saved in the bank, which would make them a safe lender. Therefore, in losing the social homes, we lose the social tenants. So where do they go?
There are many private renting opportunities near Newton Farm and Golden Post and this is is where tenants are forced to go. After the recent building work, more of the tenants who require social housing are now private renters. Those on low incomes are paying more than a third of their earnings on rents and housing costs. Do we expect deprivation to go down?
With new building projects comes new money. What has been invested of the section 106 money to enhance and improve the area for the lives of those living there? What has been put into the infrastructure of the area? How has this money improved the schools and local services? Will this have an effect on deprivation in the area? These are questions that need answering and questions I will be asking of the council. Have they considered that the area should be improving?
With the new buildings there has been more traffic. A lot of social housing tenants could not afford cars. This has impacted on the area and where I once sat in traffic for 10 minutes at The Oval, I can now be there for half an hour. When do we get the flyover, which is the only thing that could impact the traffic here?
There is no deprivation or poverty if you listen to the populists, only benefit scroungers. They are wrong and all will become clear.
• Amelia Washbourne was an election candidate in the recent Newton Farm by-election