Hope for Horden
Politics is about choices.
For Horden, we have witnessed a succession of bad choices.
The failure by Accent to invest in their housing stock allowed their properties in the numbered streets to fall into a state of disrepair.
The decision by the Homes and Communities Agency to ignore the wishes of the community and allow Accent to sell the properties at auction has led to a plethora of absentee private landlords looking to turn a quick profit.
The lack of funding from central government means any prospects for regeneration are completely reliant on the private sector and are currently unlikely to be achieved.
This needs to change.
When parliament returns I will be meeting with Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth.
I am supporting an initiative from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, who have been instrumental in securing the Horden Hub House.
The aim is to create a £40 million investment fund to support coalfield communities like Horden.
The Coalfield Regeneration Trust will commit £10 million and are asking the Government to be an investment partner and contribute a further £30 million.
Through delivering new industrial and commercial space in deprived coalfield communities, the Coalfield Regeneration Trust believe it is possible to deliver 1,000 new jobs and generate an income stream of £2 million per year. The income will be invested in the Coalfield Community Investment Programme, that will achieve the following outcomes:
400 people helped back into work
800 people supported into volunteering
5000 people assisted with developing new skills
8000 people taking part in activities to improve their health
25000 people benefitting from the social impact investments
The Horden Hub House has been a welcome addition supporting the local community. Securing investment for Horden Rail Station is a positive sign of progress. Horden has beautiful award winning parks and is located on the East Durham Heritage Coast; unique selling points we need to do more to highlight.
It would be naive to think all is well in Horden, and if we are being honest, the situation in the numbered streets has deteriorated in recent years.
Resolving the issues in the numbered streets will not happen overnight but will require a commitment of resources from government and the co-operation of multiple agencies.
I will be raising this matter with the Housing Minister, and I am hoping to be selected at Community and Local Government questions to raise the ongoing issues in Horden and to invite the Housing Minister to visit the area and speak to local residents.
Horden has an active and strong sense of community. Our parks, coastline and future rail station are vital in helping us to market and seek inward investment in the community.
The Government cannot sit idly by while our communities suffer. There is an urgent need for investment and regeneration. I will do all I can to campaign for funding and resources from a Conservative Government.
However, the best way to secure the funding is through a Labour government, which in our manifesto, the Many Not the Few, has set out proposals to devolve and increase investment, particularly in the regions by establishing a regional investment bank.
We need to take the country in a new direction. I hope you can support Labour’s proposals, and as we are stronger together, I hope more people will join Labour and demand the changes, resources and investments we need to transform our communities.