Mayor calls for a ""reality check"" on housing

PUBLISHED: 08:29 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:11 11 May 2010

ROYSTON S mayor has hit out at the amount of housing development in the town. Cllr Rod Kennedy used his speech at the mayor s civic reception, held in the Market Hill Rooms on Friday, to call for a reality check on the number of new houses being built i

ROYSTON'S mayor has hit out at the amount of housing development in the town.

Cllr Rod Kennedy used his speech at the mayor's civic reception, held in the Market Hill Rooms on Friday, to call for a "reality check" on the number of new houses being built in Crow Country.

He said: "We must stop destroying Royston by building more and more flats in the town centre and ring fence community-owned land for communal use.

"We are building the next generation of slums - pokey and crammed flats with limited space and facilities, and sowing the seeds, if we are not very lucky, for serious social problems in the not too distant future. Is that what we really want? A reality check on the number of new houses needed would also be useful.

"This should concern everybody but it strangely never features in election manifestos, but then it's probably not vote winning."

According to figures published by North Herts District Council, 844 new dwellings were built in Royston between 2001 and 2008. During the same time period, just 356 dwellings were built in Letchworth.

Two more developments currently in the pipeline, at Ivy Farm and on land near to Coombelands and Burns Road, would add another 450 properties to this total, and Cllr Kennedy believes the number of new houses built since 2001 will "soon be through the 1,000 barrier".

He added: "Is that proportionate or dumping on Royston?"

The outspoken mayor, who quit the Conservative party after taking office because he wanted to remain "politically neutral" during his time in office, also voiced his belief that councillors should be limited to a 12-year term.

He said: "Twelve years should be plenty long enough to achieve what you hope to achieve, then you should stand aside and let somebody else have a go.

"We need new people to bring new ideas and dare I suggest modern management practices, a compulsory retirement age for all politicians would also be a good idea.

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