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Southampton council leader backs Ed Miliband's homes vow
10:50am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
SOUTHAMPTON’S council chief has welcomed Ed Miliband’s vow to get Britain housebuilding again – insisting it was just what the city needed.
In his party conference keynote speech, the Labour leader said town halls would be given “use it or lose it”
powers to levy fees on developers hoarding land with planning permission.
They would also enjoy beefed-up compulsory purchase powers to grab back land that has been empty for years despite having been approved for homes.
The Daily Echo revealed that about 2,000 homes across Hampshire have approv-al, yet work has not started – including in Southampton (342), Isle of Wight (353), Test Valley (303), Fareham (178), Gosport (117) and Winchester (115).
Councillor Simon Letts, Southampton’s Labour leader, stopped short of agreeing the city had a “housing crisis” – the phrase used by Mr Miliband in his conference speech.
But he said: “This is an issue I raised with Labour’s housing spokesman back in July, so I’m very supportive of this policy.
“We have developers that are sitting on banks of land that are not being used for houses, so we need incentives for them to do exactly that.
“We do have lots of people who want to buy a home, or rent a new home.
“We have 14,000 people on the housing waiting list, which is a good indication that people living in overcrowded conditions is a big issue.”
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